New Executive Actions Largely Political Props
With little progress being made in Washington DC these days on hot button issues such as immigration, health care, or debt control, the White House is once again going back to the patent reform well. The latest round of political theater occurred last Thursday when the White House announced yet another round of "executive actions." Like the earlier round, these also recycle ongoing PTO programs and initiatives as "new ideas" of the administration.
The latest initiatives include providing a web page of resources for those facing patent troll suits, a program to encourage the USPTO to "crowdsource" for prior art, and additional seminars for patent examiners to keep them up to date on changes in technology and functional claiming. Of course, the PTO has been cooperating with industry on technology seminars for years, and the peer-to-patent program was introduced in 2007 to leverage crowdsourcing.
As an aside, the PTO now has a page of PTAB decisions on functional claiming, which I find useful.