Jun 28

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Peer-to-Patent: Helping out the USPTO

peer to patent Peer To Patent is a new site that is designed to help the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) find prior art before issuing a patent (when it is much easier to dismiss a patent). The site was developed with the New York Law School for the USPTO. It is very similar to WikiPatents. Hopefully one or both of these sites will aid the overwhelmed government agency to stop issuing overreaching or harmful patents. The EFF's Patent Busting Project targeted specific patents on framed browsing, one-click shopping, and vieo streaming.

The diagram below shows the lifecycle of a submitted patent on Peer To Patent.

peer to patent process

To participate you'll have to create an account. After creating an account you can join in the discussion on patents, subscribe to them, and submit and vote on prior art. Its most helpful if you use your real name when creating an account, but not essential. They do request that you read application (especially the claims) of any patent that you are commenting on. After the review period the top ten prior art examples are sent to the patent examiner.

The site is difficult to navigate (and has the occasional problem rendering in Safari). I was not able to find patents until I created an account and logged in. Here are some currently in the system.

The community around these patents seem to be a mix of Computer Professional/Technologist, Engineer, Lawyer/Legal Professional and a couple of other fields. All of the patents listed have prior art attached to them.

Right now submitting a patent to Peer To Patent is an opt-in process. The current patents on the site seem clustered around technology. I hope this community grows and that community-review becomes a standard part of the patenting process for all patents.

Peer To Patent has included a collection of short videos on the site from creators and supporters. These include Beth Novack explaining vehow to use the site, Todd Dickinson of GE (and former director of the USPTO) discussing the lack of information at the USPTO's office, PJ of Groklaw discussing how bad patents hurt FOSS, and Tim discussing the need to stop the proliferation of bad patents. I am sure that they will add more in time. You can track their progress on their blog or in Second Life.

I was impressed to see the list of corporate sponsors (see the logos below). There are some pretty big names there. It's unsurprising given the rise of technology-licensing companies like Acacia. The bigger companies have the most to lose when it comes to patent lawsuits.


The developers of the site are quite proud that the new site withstood a Slashdotting (last week). They talk about how they did it in Rails, Slashdotted: no problem.

tags: emerging tech, web 2.0  | comments: 0   | Sphere It

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