PTO Glossary Program Will Expedite Software Patent Application Process

The US Patent and Trademark Office is introducing a pilot program to use glossaries to speed up the processing of software-related patent applications.

The program will launch on June 2 and run until December 12.

The Glossary Initiative arose out of a Software Partnership Meeting held by the USPTO at UC Berkeley School of law in October of 2013.

According to the PowerPoint Presentation at that meeting, the use of glossaries is intended to clarify “potentially ambiguous, distinctive, and specialized terms.”

The USPTO noted that although some favor the use of glossaries, the majority of patent applicants oppose them, as in the following example:

Requiring an applicant to put a glossary of “potentially ambiguous, distinctive, and specialized terms” in the specification seems to handcuff an applicant to using terms that are actually defined, limited the language that could be used in the claims.

The Patent Office conducted a study on the use of glossaries in patent applications and found:

  • No significant difference in the occurrence of patentability errors based on the presence/absence of glossaries or definitions
  • The presence of a glossary did not impact either the pendency or ultimate disposition of a patent application.

However, in the study definitions were not standardized in any way as to form and content, and there were too many variables for a controlled evaluation.

Thus, the Patent Office concluded that there was a need for a pilot program under more controlled conditions.

According to Michelle Lee, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO, the USPTO recognizes “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.”

Patent applications accepted into the pilot program will be given expedited treatment.

If you plan to submit a software-related patent application and would like to be included in the pilot program, contact our office to make an appointment for a free initial consultation with one of our patent lawyers.
At Sheldon Mak & Anderson, we recognize that innovation is your competitive edge – and it needs protection. Recognized as one of the country’s “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News and Best Lawyers, Sheldon Mak & Anderson was established in 1983 and is one of Pasadena’s oldest law firms. Our full-service IP firm provides local, regional, national, and international legal services in the following areas: patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, IP litigation, international patent and trademark prosecution, licensing, alternative dispute resolution, and green technology.

Contact our knowledgeable intellectual property attorneys today TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) or email us at to find out how we can provide powerful protection for your unique ideas.

We have offices conveniently located in Pasadena (626-796-4000, 100 Corson Street Third Floor, Pasadena, CA 91103-3842);  Riverside (951-787-7770, 5885 Brockton Avenue, Riverside, CA 92506-1863); Upland (909-946-3939, 222 N. Mountain Avenue, Suite 210, Upland, CA 91786-5714); and Orange County (855-874-3327, 2102 Business Center Drive, Suite 130, Irvine, CA 92612-1001).

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Photo Attribution: “Sketch” by Bill Bradley (billbeee) is licensed under CC BY 3.0


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