Tuesday, 16 September 2008
The Peer-to-Patent Project
MIT's Technology Review has an article today about the Peer-to-Patent Project, a project dubbed "Community Review of Patents". This experimental program was launched in June 2007 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and with the support of the technology industry and is intended to give the public more of a voice in the patent system. The concept is this: Publish patent applications online and let anyone with relevant expertise — academics, colleagues, potential rivals — offer input to be passed along to the Patent Office. By using the power of the internet to tap the wisdom of the masses, Peer-to-Patent aims to discover hard-to-find "prior art" (evidence that an invention already exists or is obvious and therefore doesn't deserve a patent) that Patent Office examiners might not find and to produce better patents by reducing ones granted on applications that aren't "novel". The hope is that this will drive innovation by improving the patent process and reducing the patent infringement lawsuits clogging the courts.