With Congress debating patent reform and the Supreme Court correcting the mistakes of lower courts when it comes to patent laws, it seems that the US Patent and Trademark Office is finally starting to realize that there's widespread dissatisfaction with how it's going about things. Perhaps it's starting to realize that the purpose of the USPTO isn't to grant patents, but to promote innovation. To that end, it's making some minor, but still important, changes to the rules for patent examiners, hoping to improve the quality of patents being approved. The latest change is to try to cut down on overly broad patents and patents where the actual invention isn't entirely clear, by forcing applicants to only include a single invention in a claim. This way the examiners know what the invention is that they're actually supposed to be examining. The fact that this wasn't in place before (along with the suggestion that patent examiners weren't entirely sure what they were examining) should say something about the state of our patent system.
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