The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has formed a partnership with the software community to enhance the quality of software-related patents (Software Partnership). The Software Partnership is an opportunity to bring stakeholders together through a series of roundtable discussions to share ideas, feedback, experiences, and insights on software-related patents.
February 2013 Listening Sessions
To kick-off the Software Partnership, the USPTO sponsored two events in February. The events had identical agendas and provided a forum for the public to offer input on topics within the purview of the USPTO, such as enhancing the quality of software-related patents through implementing best practices in patent application preparation and utilizing the existing statutory framework to improve examination.
For each session, three topics related to software-related patents and applications were covered:
- establishing clear boundaries for claims that use functional language;
- future discussion topics for the Software Partnership; and
- preparation of patent applications by employing certain claiming techniques.
Silicon Valley Roundtable
The first roundtable was held in Silicon Valley at Stanford University on February 12, 2013. It was well attended and featured 12 speakers from different areas of the software community.
The following presentations were presented at the Silicon Valley roundtable:
- Chien, Colleen (Assistant Professor) & Karkhanis, Aashish (SCU Law '13), Santa Clara University [PDF]
- Ellis, John [PPT]
- Gutierrez, Horacio, representing Microsoft [PPT]
- Hewitt, Carl [PPT]
- Molino, Tim, BSA [PPT]
- Patel, Aseet, Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. [PPT]
- Russell, Jeremy [PPT]
New York City Roundtable
The second roundtable was held in New York City at New York University on February 27, 2013. It was also well attended and featured 14 speakers from different areas of the software community.
The following presentations were presented at the New York City roundtable:
Comment Period Closed
On January 3, 2013, the USPTO published a Federal Register Notice seeking public input on topics concerning software-related patents and applications. The comment period for providing public input is now closed.
The comments are posted for public review at: Comments re: Partnership for Enhancement of Quality of Software-Related Patents.
The USPTO is currently reviewing the comments and the input provided at the February 2013 roundtable events, and is utilizing this information to formulate the next steps for the Software Partnership. The comments contained suggestions for internal efforts that could be made by the USPTO to improve patent quality, as well as proposing a large number of topics for future discussion. Once the internal review process is complete, the Office intends to announce the date of the next roundtable event, in order to continue the ongoing dialogue with the software community.