Here's the notice to register to attend the USPTO's open meeting on February 16th to discuss next steps on the prior art collaboration. The press release mentions that only 200 or so can attend in person, due to space constraints -- which I hope they address in the future when planning events -- it's time to register, if you want to go. One can only smile at an invitation that reads like this:
All members of the open source software community are encouraged to attend. However, space is limited so please register early. Only the first 220 registrations can be accepted.
They don't realize how huge the community is. The press release doesn't say the time, but it's from 10-2 Eastern. And you register here.
I think personally it would be uncommonly useful if as many of you as possible register an interest in attending, even if you have questions about the project, if only so the USPTO understands clearly the deep interest and concern the FOSS community has in the subject of software patents. Of course, don't register if you have no interest in attending. When registering by email, they ask for personal information, like your firm, but it's strictly voluntary. Considering everything, you may wish to consider privacy issues before deciding what to provide. Maybe that's just me. I'm a privacy-loving girl. The event will be here:
Madison Auditorium, South Side
600 Dulany Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Directions. And here's the press release.
USPTO to hold Open Source Software Community Meeting February 16, 2006
The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has created a partnership with the open source community to ensure that patent examiners have improved access to all available prior art relating to software code during the patent examination process.
In December the USPTO representatives met with members of the open source software community, which provided an opportunity for members to discuss with the USPTO prior art access issues related to software patent quality. The meeting focused on getting the best prior art references to the examiner during the initial examination process.
As a follow-up to their December 6th meeting, USPTO representatives will hold another meeting on February 16th, 2006. This meeting will be open to the public and will focus on further developing previously discussed initiatives as well as any new prior art initiatives offered at that time.
All members of the open source software community are encouraged to attend. However, space is limited so please register early. Only the first 220 registrations can be accepted. For additional information go to http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/opensource2006.htm.