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Patent Office Joins Open Source Movement

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is seen in Alexandria, Va.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is seen in Alexandria, Va. // Alex Brandon/AP

Citizens can now browse the source code for an app that tracks the trademark process, part of a broader federal effort to share more software code with the public.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published the source code on GitHub for the app, which notifies a trademark applicant every time the status changes.

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The move comes shortly after the White House finalized a top-down open source policy that directs agencies to share their custom software code with each other, and also proposed a pilot in which agencies must share 20 percent of code with the public. That policy was designed to reduce wasteful software contracts and also allow the public to spot-check the code.

Earlier this month, the White House also launched Code.gov, a repository for government source code including sites such as Vote.gov, Vets.gov and Data.gov. So far, about 10 agencies have uploaded 50 open source projects.

Publishing the source code for USPTO's app could help other agencies create similar ones, USPTO Chief Technology Officer David Chiles wrote in a blog post.  

The agency has been trying to digitize its data so users can search existing patents and trademarks or track their own applications, according to that post.

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