Fixing the patent system: peertopatent.org

Fixing the patent system: peertopatent.org

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At IBM thirty years ago I reviewed a bunch of invention disclosures, seeing a number of software "inventions" which were pretty obvious to me. Nowadays we hear about software patents, obvious ones, getting people into court.

This really needs fixing, and the folks at peertopatent.org are bringing a "wisdom of crowds" or crowdsourcing approach, which has a good chance of getting something done:

Peer-to-Patent is a historic initiative that opens the patent examination process to public participation. Developed by New York Law School in cooperation with the US Patent and Trademark Office, Peer-to-Patent allows the public to submit information to the USPTO that they believe would be useful to the examiner in deciding whether or not an invention is truly deserving of a patent. Anyone interested in participating in this groundbreaking project can go to peertopatent.org or dotank.nyls.edu/communitypatent to learn more.

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2 Comments

chris franklin

I agree that peertopatent.org might help accelerate the USPTO's initial review time-frame: what could take as long as 14 months might now commonly take 1-3 months or less as the performance of the examination process is boosted by this community-supplied, prior-art research.
You could speculate that the following might happen, though:
1. Patents may — more than ever — become the domain of big business as a result of PeertoPatent. Large companies are generally the only entities who could cover the fees law firms would charge to amend an application to circumvent what might be an unrelenting fusillade of prior art from PeerToPatent. Thus, PeertoPeer might force a committed applicant to file more amendments than in the past and force astronomical legal charges. Patent Lawers may end up celebrating PeerToPatent.
2. Then again, Law firms and Patent Lawyers — maybe after prodding from the ABA a decade from now –may simply have to inform their clients that the new, "PeerToPatent" prior-art, obstacle course they face will demand precise wording of the scope of their patent application; to clients: "the weaknesses in the USPTO system which may have occasionally allowed broadly-written patents to pass review are now effectively hardened; so let's not waste time."
However, I suspect that Patent Lawyers will try to enjoy "1." as long as possible.
Thanks for the link to PeertoPatent!

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