The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is seeking public input on a draft treaty, slated for adoption this spring, that would streamline and cut the cost of applying for and protecting patents worldwide, the agency announced March 9 [65 Fed. Reg. 12515 (2000)].

The World Intellectual Property Organization will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, beginning May 11 to consider the Patent Law Treaty. The PLT would reduce the formal requirements for patent applications in the U.S. and other countries, and decrease associated costs for applicants and patent owners. Because it is limited to procedural, not substantive, requirements, the PTO expects any changes to U.S. patent law to be minimal.

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