Groklaw reports that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office "would like to form a partership with the software community" to figure out how to "enhance" the quality of software patents. The agency is seeking comments, and will be hosting two roundtable events in February, one in Silicon Valley and one in New York.
According to the USPTO's request, it is seeking comments (at a live forum and via email -- see below) "on how to more 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 agency also seeks "specific claim examples and supporting disclosure" to illustrate the points made.
To register for the roundtables (must be done by February 4):
"Send an email message 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."
To provide comments (must be submitted by March 15):
Send an email to SoftwareRoundtable2013@uspto.gov on one or all of the three topics of discussion:
1) "How to improve clarity of claim boundaries that define the scope of patent protection for claims that use functional language."
2) "Identify additional topics for future discussion by the Software Partnership."
3) "A forthcoming Request for Comments on Preparation of Patent Applications and offers an opportunity for oral presentations on the Request for Comments at the Silicon Valley and New York City roundtable events. Written comments are requested in response to the first two discussion topics. Written comments on the third discussion topic must be submitted as directed in the forthcoming Request for Comments on Preparation of Patent Applications."