On March 28, 2011, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") has published and made electronically available the new 9th edition of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure ("MPEP"). The 9th edition of the MPEP may be viewed at www.uspto.gov/mpep or at mpep.uspto.gov (searchable).
The USPTO also has announced the launch of its new Glossary Pilot Program for software-related inventions, which will begin on June 2, 2014 and run through December 31, 2014. The USPTO states that the pilot program is designed to enhance claim clarity in the specification of software-related patent applications. Participation in the Glossary Pilot Program requires an applicant to include a glossary section in the patent application specification to define terms used in the patent claims. Applications accepted into this pilot program will receive expedited processing and be placed on an examiner’s special docket prior to the first office action, and will have special status up to issuance of a first office action.
According to the March 27, 2014 Federal Register notice, a glossary definition establishes limits for a term "by presenting a positive statement of what the term means." Moreover, a glossary definition "cannot consist solely of a statement of what the term does not mean, and cannot be open-ended." The Federal Register Notice for the Glossary Pilot Program may be accessed here.
More information about the Glossary Pilot Program may be found at www.uspto.gov/patents/init_events/glossary_initiative.jsp.