Friday, May 12, 2006

Some info on peer-to-patent meeting on May 12, 2006

Under the Peer-to-Patent program, patent applications would undergo a prior art submission process through peers and then would be reviewed by a board of experts. The unique aspect of the program is that potential patents would undergo a massive review process of volunteer reviewers, much like an open source community review. Noveck detailed a wikipedia-like information database and community and peer grading systems taken from auction site eBay and popular tech news resource Peers would be graded on expertise and their individual prior art submissions and comments would be graded as well. Although the process will be voluntary, patents under peer review could be eligible for 20 year terms instead of five year ones [?], creating an incentive for inventors and companies to take part in the program.

Establishing the Peer-to-Patent program would not require additional legislation. There is some legislation, including the Patent Reform Act of 2005 proposed by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) which would change some of the fundamental processes of patent approval and appeal, including patent re-reviews. The most controversial change this legislation would make is awarding patents to the first persons to file the application, as opposed to the individuals or groups who originally invented the patentable process or object. [IPBiz: "first-to-file" was not, and is not, the most controversial aspect to H.R. 2795.]

The USPTO hopes the pilot program can start around Christmas of this year.

As one of the elements of the patent quality initiative, IBM is the first corporation that has committed to consent to community peer review of published patent applications owned by the company by allowing third parties to submit commentary explaining the relevance of the prior art they provide to the patent office.

The Project will support a network of experts to advise the Patent Office on prior art and longer term to assist with patentability determinations. The goal of the Project is to help patent examiners find the right references and eventually to have access to those who can advise on how to combine them.


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