Beth Noveck re PeerToPatent and WikiGovernment on OnTheMedia

Beth Noveck re PeerToPatent and WikiGovernment on OnTheMedia

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Beth's the US Deputy CTO on Open Government, charged in large part with enabling the reinvention of the US government. that's the Gov2.0 / eGovernment stuff.

She just spoke on OnTheMedia, which is a really good podcast from WNYC of how well the media performs.

Specifically, she talked about a successful government application, PeerToPatent, which uses crowdsourcing to get lots of help for patent review.

She also discussed Open Government and her book, Wiki Government, which I've read and highly recommend.

This really is a big deal, under the radar for the most part.

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3 Comments

Glenn Fleishman

I thought Noveck said some marvelous things, but Bob Garfield framed the discussion somewhat inaccurately.
He said in the intro (that Noveck likely wouldn't have heard, recorded later) that patents have to be unique and nonobvious, but that's not quite right.
They have to be new, useful, legal, and nonobvious, which is somewhat different.
Garfield cited the Amazon 1-Click patent and a Smuckers crustless PBJ patent. Both of those probably meet all the tests, except the "new" test in which only examination of prior art and prior patents can reveal.
The 1-Click patent has been attacked for prior art, but as a patent, it's perfectly valid. I disagree with the entire notion of business-method patents, but as long as they exist, businesses must patent those methods or find competitors or patent trolls locking them out of their ability to use certain techniques. Noveck touched on this in noting that IBM and others have a huge interest in fostering patent examination because they are the victims of patent suits so often.
The Smuckers crustless sandwich patent is actually the kind of patent for which the system was developed, and Garfield confuses whimsy with usefulness. Smuckers developed a way to use a machine to create a "sealed" sandwich. In the 1700s, you could probably have developed an unhygienic version of that idea and gotten it patented.
(There may be lots of prior art and patents that could invalidate the Smuckers patent; I don't know.)
I see part of the great utility of open patent processes and PeerToPatent ideas as allowing folks with prior art to file it in a way that gives access to all others.

Bly

8/15/090
Regarding more effective & safe ways of countering wildfires:
With difficult to access dry season fires now burning in Santa Cruz, Yuba and Alameda Counties the need for more than usual approaches to extinguish them should be apparent, after years of pleading with officials who have been repeatedly informed there are more safe and sure ways to achieve such reduction and losses, and to do so in a more rapid time span without useage of heavy fossil fuel consuming equipment or bringing in firefighters from other counties and states. The millions being spent for such costly procedures can be better employed with better results not just through California's participation and cooperation but all other vulnerable and endangered states. Why there is such a reluctance to embrace something more advanced and sure is a mystery and also a tragedy for many when in more than one instance the efficacy has been demonstrated.
This alluded to interfraded approach produces no further chemical contamination of wildlands and the animals and beneficial insects there, which insects includes both bees and those insects beneficial bats feed on. With both bee abd bat populations now endangered, this new Intergraded approach deserves immediate consideration and support.

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