Over the past few years I’ve landed onto more and more PR firms’ press lists, which generally means I get a lot of press releases I don’t really care much about. Frankly, a lot of those releases just aren’t intended for me, but it’s all a numbers game (for both sides, really, and I’m still waiting for more PR firms to act upon my blogger pr tips). Rarely do I receive releases from the government that grab my attention. Today was one of those grabs.
United States Patent and Trademark Office Begins Pilot Program to Open Patent Examination Process for Online Public Participation
the USPTO announced that this pilot program to test the value of public participation in the patent examination process will run for one year.
The custom-designed Web site facilitates:
- review and discussion of posted patent applications
- sharing of research to locate references to relevant earlier publications
- submission of these prior art references with an explanation of relevance
- annotating and evaluating submitted prior art
- winnowing of top ten prior art references, which, together with commentary, will be forwarded to the USPTO
- patent education to inform public participation
- forwarding of public submissions directly to the USPTO for consideration
The goal of opening up the examination process for public participation is to enable better decision making by the patent examiner and improve patent quality.
Kudos to the USPTO for taking some cues from the burgeoning citizen journalism industry. Hm, “industry” is probably the wrong word, but that’s not important right now.
The site is fairly impressive. Lots of community features, well beyond just forums (ah yes, another online profile). After reading through a few patents and their discussions, I certainly hope that this process might help “Englishize” patents a bit more, as they are still as abstract as ever. I fear this’ll be the big obstacle to prevent more communal participation. I wonder if they too will make a Facebok plug-in? I certainly think that’s more useful than their integration with SecondLife!
There’s a ton of griping these days about how much reform is needed in the patent process. Here’s a chance for all the gripers to show their character. Get involved. Click here to share your voice in a new kind of P2P, they call it Peer to Patent (more about them here).