Today(END ITALICS) sponge patent
Petition to reinstate the patent covering certain features of the contraceptive sponge denied by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patent expired in July "due to VLI's inadvertent failure to timely pay a required maintenance fee," company said. VLI plans "to file a petition requesting the PTO to reconsider its petition." VLI's proposed merger with American Home Products is conditioned on reinstatement of the patent. VLI says the U.S. patent is scheduled to expire in the year 2000.
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