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Print 11 comment(s) - last by WhipperSnapper.. on May 10 at 9:31 AM

The public will get a chance to review patents before they are approved by the USPTO

The US Patent and Trademark Office has received praise for officially launching the Peer to Patent program -- the purpose of Peer to Patent is to find patents that have been issued for already made products or items that don't properly qualify for a patent.  Because the USPTO usually does not have the manpower and time to thoroughly check every patent that comes into the office, many are unjustly rubber stamped.  A New York law school helped develop the Peer to Patent program that will help ease the workload of "underpaid and overwhelmed" patent examiners.  The pilot program will officially begin on May 12.

One of the goals of the program is to excessively scrutinize inventions while increasing certainty and stability in the patent program.  To get some more information about the Peer to Patent program, please look around this website, which also includes a very extensive FAQ section.  An interesting policy is the project's response on companies or individuals that may attempt to game the system:

Competition will drive more information into the process.  So long as people make valid arguments as rated by their peers, their personal agenda is irrelevant.  Having many participants in the process dilutes the effect of any bad apples or unconstructive participants.  Within any social reputation system, norms evolve to safeguard the quality of participation and we can expect something similar here.

Certainly, there are some interesting connotations with this idea. Imagining IBM, AMD and Intel validating or invalidating each other's patents would solve dozens, if not hundreds of fringe IP law suits before they even occur.


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I like it.
By phisrow on 5/9/2006 7:07:48 AM , Rating: 2
Assuming proper execution, this looks like a real win in two major ways. One, concerned individuals and small inventors/developers, etc. should have an easier time preventing patents that they know to be absurd, or they know that they have already implemented. It isn't impossible to contest a patent application today; but the process is nontrivial, and likely to stretch the capacity of all but the most interested and devoted layman.

Such small contributors are unlikely to fully solve the problem; but giving people the ability to improve things, and to protect themselves, seems like a good thing all around.

Where this scheme will really pay off, at least in volume terms, will be in major corporations scrutinizing each other's patents. Currently, it is possible to invalidate patents and applications; but going to court to do it(particularly as part of a suit) is slow, risky and expensive. Much cheaper to scrutinize competitor's applications before they become a problem. This should mean that basic competitive economic logic will provide a great deal of hostile scrutiny funded by major patenting parties for most patents. This will certainly be more effective at weeding out the deadwood than our current, sadly underfunded, system.




RE: I like it.
By patentman on 5/9/2006 7:45:18 AM , Rating: 3
I agree with most of your post phisrow. Peer review of patents is a win win situation. Sure, some companies might be pissed because they do not get as many patents as they used to, but the quality of those they do receive will be better (at least that is the goal)

I don;t completely agree with your statement that this will majorly benefit large corporations as they scrutinize each others patents in terms of costs. All the peer to patent program does is give competitors another weapon to use against applications they see coming down the pipeline. However, they will likely still need to hire patent searchers and attorneys to evaluate these patents, perform the requisite prior art searches etc. in order to challenge an allowed application. Further, I think this process, because it improves patent quality, is likely to make the costs and risks associated with defending against or invalidating an issued patent to increase.

Regardless, large corporations in many instances do not bother with challenging one another (though it does happen). Rather, they often have open licensing agreements with one another (except for key technologies) and agree not to sue one another. Its basically analogous to two countries that hate each other and have nuclear weapons, both know that they could annihilate the other, but both realize that in the process, they will likely be destroyed themselves.


RE: I like it.
By patentman on 5/9/2006 2:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
One more thing. I think that in order for this to work, I think that the arguments presented to the PTO need to be made by somone who has some idea of what the U.S. patent law actually is. You can chalk that up to shameless sel-promotion if you want (I am a patent professional and am stufdying to be a patent attornry), but its not going help anything if the PTO is swamped with a bunch of arguments from people who don;t understand the distiction between what "invention" and "obviousness" is under the U.S. Patent law and just simple hindsight arguments that XYZ is "SO" obvious.


RE: I like it.
By WhipperSnapper on 5/10/2006 9:31:50 AM , Rating: 2

Patent lawyers are a dime a dozen now, sadly. From what I can tell, the gravy train for entry-level patent attorneys left the station in 1999 or 2000.


What!!!
By Chadder007 on 5/9/2006 4:12:42 PM , Rating: 2
But but but.....Peer to Peer programs are the devil and all of the creators of these programs should be sued because they can only be used for Piracy!!!!!




RE: What!!!
By patentman on 5/9/2006 6:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
you sir....are an idiot


RE: What!!!
By jtesoro on 5/9/2006 7:42:24 PM , Rating: 2
My read was that he was being sarcastic...


First link is incorrect
By patentman on 5/9/2006 8:07:15 AM , Rating: 1
First link should be to http://www.uspto.gov/index.html
The current link takes you to the registration site.

Second, this is only a pilot program, which means it is a test. It does not mean the PTO is going to implement it.

Third, your second link is NOT to the official website of the program. Its to a wikipedia based site that as far as I can tell is based off of a law review article that MAY have been the basis of the proposed pilot program. Wikipedia is far from reliable as I recall.

I like dailytech, but I swear you guys have a really bad tendency to spread misinformation.




RE: First link is incorrect
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/9/2006 12:18:44 PM , Rating: 2
The first link was wrong, I've fixed it. I think the other points were already covered in the article though.


RE: First link is incorrect
By Trisped on 5/9/2006 2:20:07 PM , Rating: 2
I personally got the impression that it was in the "Starting out" phase, but not that it was "pilot" which could be scraped if it doesn't work. The head line and the summary also implied that it is a new process, fully instituted.


The word is "connotation"
By sxr7171 on 5/9/2006 2:39:45 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry, I had to do it. I mean writing is this person's job. You can't make mistakes like that if it is your job.




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