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In Comments at PTO Roundtable Event, BSA Proposes Ways to Improve Patent Quality

WASHINGTON, DC — February 12, 2013 —

Software patents provide an essential incentive to innovate, and sensible reforms to the system could help improve their quality, BSA | The Software Alliance argued today in public comments at a roundtable event held by the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in Silicon Valley.

“The ability to patent software is critical for promoting innovation, but the process can always be improved,” said BSA Director of Government Relations Tim Molino. “Software is no different from any other class of invention in that regard.”

Molino outlined three specific recommendations to improve the quality of software patents:

  • First, the PTO should work with the patent bar to provide patent examiners, especially those in software units, with additional training, resources, and guidance with respect to Section 112, which requires accurate descriptions of inventions. Better-trained and equipped examiners will clearly help improve the system.
  • Second, the PTO should encourage examiners to more vigorously scrutinize claims under Section 112. For example, examiners should be encouraged to conduct a full analysis to ensure that a broad claim is justified by the description of the invention — and examiners should be encouraged to require patentees to provide clear definitions of ambiguous claim terms.
  • Finally, the partnership that the PTO has established with the software industry to enhance the quality of software-related patents should engage in a robust discussion on the best ways to aid the technology industry in developing common descriptions for software-related technologies, because they will continue to play an integral role in driving the modern economy.

For a complete summary of Molino’s comments at the USPTO roundtable event in Silicon Valley, visit BSA’s TechPost blog: www.bsa.org/techpost.

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