Are you tired of reading about all the patent litigation from different tech companies being thrown left and right? Don’t you wish someone could actually do something about it so everyone can just move, make new technologies, and give people what they want instead of see them acting in court, telling the judge who copied what from who?
Though those days may seem light years away, at least the US Patent and Trademark Office is willing to hear people out in order to make the patent system work smoother and hopefully avoid major litigation from various companies.
According to Groklaw, the USPTO will be forming a partnership with the software community “to figure out how to ‘enhance’ the quality of software patents.” They are said to be looking for comments from developers in two roundtable events sponsored by the USPTO in February. The roundtables will be held in in Silicon Valley and in New York.
“Each roundtable event will provide a forum for an informal and interactive discussion of topics relating to patents that are particularly relevant to the software community. While public attendees will have the opportunity to provide their individual input, group consensus advice will not be sought….” the USPTO stated.
There will be three initial topics for the events, the first one encompassing the establishment of clear boundaries for claims that use functional language to effectively ensure that the boundaries of a claim are clear so that the public can understand what subject matter is protected by the patent claim and the patent examiner can identify and apply the most pertinent prior art; the second part is for the future discussion of topics for the Software Partnership as the USPTO seeks public input on topics related to enhancing the quality of software-related patents and topics will be used in an effort to extend and expand the dialogue between the public and the USPTO regarding enhancing quality of software-related patents; and the third topic will be about the oral presentations on preparations of patent applications whose purpose is to seek public input on whether certain practices could or should be used during the preparation of an application to place the application in the best possible condition for examination and whether
the use of these practices would assist the public in determining the scope of the claims as well as the meaning of the claim terms in the specification.
Those who want to attend the event should register before February 4, 2013. Though the event is free, seats are limited and first come, first served will be implemented. Interested parties should send an e-mail to SoftwareRoundtable2013@uspto.gov and provide the following information: (1) Your name, title, and if applicable, company or organization, address, phone number, and email address; (2) which roundtable event you wish to attend (Silicon Valley or New York City); and (3) if you wish to make an oral presentation at the event, the specific topic or issue to be addressed and the approximate desired length of your presentation.
This isn’t the only effort by the USPTO to fix the broken patent system as they’ve recently teamed up with the European Patent Office and launched the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system “to develop a common, internationally compatible classification system for technical documents used in the patent granting process that incorporates the best classification practices from both offices.”