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Patent ‘Death Squad’ Rules Owners Denounce Upheld by U.S. Court

A U.S. appeals court upheld rules that make it easier for companies like Google Inc. and Apple Inc. to get rid of worrisome patent litigation on the cheap.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in an appeal involving a patent for a speed limit indicator, took its first look at reviews by the Patent and Trademark Office. The decision Wednesday may benefit many companies not directly in the case by upholding rules that patent owners say make it too easy to get their legal protections tossed and led a former judge to dub the agency board a “death squad” for patents.