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US Patent Office seeks public input on software patents' future

The Register - The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has asked the software community to help advise it on how to properly handle software-related patents – a move that could represent the first steps toward software patent reform.

The agency published its request for comments in the Federal Register on Thursday, explaining that it wants to form a Software Partnership with members of the public to share ideas and discuss several key issues.

Top-of-mind for the USPTO is figuring out how to establish clear boundaries for patent claims that use "functional language," meaning claims that describe processes but have no corresponding hardware invention.

As the USPTO's notice explains: