USPTO Launches New Glossary Pilot Program to Promote Patent Claim Clarity

Program called for in Obama administration executive actions to improve U.S. patent system
Press Release

Contact: (Media Only) Patrick Ross
or Paul Fucito (571) 272-8400 or or


Washington - The U.S. Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the launch of its new Glossary Pilot Program as part of ongoing Obama administration efforts to strengthen the U.S. patent system. The pilot, which will begin on June 2 and run through December 31, 2014, is designed to enhance claim clarity in the specification of software-related patent applications by encouraging and gauging the use of glossaries by patent applicants.

"We recognize that a patent with clearly defined boundaries provides notice to the public to help avoid infringement, as well as avoid costly and needless litigation down the road," said Michelle Lee, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO.

In June 2013, the administration issued a series of executive actions concerning high-tech patent issues. One of those executive actions charged the USPTO with finding ways to improve claim clarity, including through the use of glossaries in patent applications. On February 20, 2014, the administration announced that the USPTO would be launching a pilot program to encourage the use of glossaries in patent applications to promote patent clarity.

Participation in the Glossary Pilot Program requires an applicant to include a glossary section in the patent application specification to define terms used in the patent claims. Applications accepted into this pilot program will receive expedited processing and be placed on an examiner's special docket prior to the first office action, and will have special status up to issuance of a first office action.

For more information about the Glossary Pilot Program, please visit

For further information, please contact Seema S. Rao, Director, Technology Center 2100 at, or by telephone at 571-272-0800.

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