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01-04-13, 08:30 PM
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is seeking input (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/01/03/2012-31594/request-for-comments-and-notice-of-roundtable-events-for-partnership-for-enhancement-of-quality-of) from the software industry about the performance of the patent system. A pair of February "roundtable" events‚??one in Silicon Valley and the other in New York City‚??will give members of the public an opportunity to comment on how to improve the quality of "software-related patents."

"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," according to a notice in the Federal Register. "While public attendees will have the opportunity to provide their individual input, group consensus advice will not be sought."

One of the topics the USPTO wants feedback on relates to "functional claims." For example, software patents often seek to cover a "system and method" to perform some function. Claims written in such language can often be broad or vague. The USPTO is seeking suggestions on how to "improve clarity of claim boundaries" for patents that use this kind of language.


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