[Crowd-powered] Program brings Web's collective wisdom to patent process
AKA "Peer-to-patent", this process posts patent applications online for the public to review, helping to uncover cases of "prior art" and obvious ideas that shouldn't be patented, and helping the Patent Office to cut down on mistakes and through paperwork.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some of the biggest players in the technology industry complain that the U.S. patent system is broken -- putting too many patents of dubious merit in the hands of people who can use them to drag companies and other inventors to court.
An experimental program aims to give the public, including inventors, more of a voice in the patent system.
And Blaise Mouttet, a small inventor in Alexandria, Virginia, thinks he knows why. The problem, he said, is that "there are too many lawyers and not enough inventors involved with the patent system."
So Mouttet is taking part in an experimental program launched in June 2007 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and backed by the technology industry that is intended to give the public -- including inventors -- more of a voice in the system.
The concept behind the program, called Peer-to-Patent, is straightforward: Publish patent applications on the Web for all to see and let anyone with relevant expertise -- academics, colleagues, even potential rivals -- offer input to be passed along to the Patent Office.