The UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is finally opening its patent process up to a collaborative internet project, after four long years of chin-stroking. The Peer To Patent scheme, which is already being tested in the US, Japan and Australia, was officially launched in Blighty this morning by Baroness Wilcox, who is the …
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Seems like a step in the right direction. As long as these 'experts' aren't exclusively experts from big corporations.
Hope there will also come a similar system for debunking some of the useless patents we are stuck with now.
"As long as these 'experts' aren't exclusively experts from big corporations."
Doesn't matter if they do. So longs as they not all from the same big corporation.
Eg I don't see MS "experts" passing on Apple patent apps just because. They'd be far more likely to point out any prior art or "obviousness" since that would be one less patent to license or fight over in court.
Just add a "bug bounty"
Pay a nominal sum for the first person to point a flaw in the application, say £25 or so, and make it open to a wider set of reviewers.
Hang on. The US *has* a peer to patent system since 2009
I'm pretty sure this has still let *lots* of rubbish computing patents in since then.
And for software they should have made it retro-active as well.
Flame because of the US rules on "I got an idea about something in software so gimme a patent."
I *like* the idea. Of course the devil is in the details.
I wonder if pointing out...
"This is a software patent [and is therefore not patentable]"
will be taken as a valid criticism.
I doubt it, given what's been allowed in the past.
I wonder how this works
If patent reviewers are in the industry and may be working for the competition they will get first look into the other companies' developments - and may even spill the beans so the competition files a similar patent quicker during the review process?
I know this is a big problem in in academic publishing already, so how will this translate when billions of real money are riding on it?
If I file a patent on 1st February, and it gets published on the site, and you subsequently see it and file a patent covering the same claims on 1st March, then my patent would be "Prior Art" which would (in theory) stop your patent from being granted, even if mine was.
In other words, you'd just be wasting your money.
Certainly better than the current broken situation.
Pretty much what has been going on in the building planning departments for years now.
Not a solves-all solution, but it certainly can help.
Alas, wait for IBM/MS/Apple/Etc professional-disputers; employed specifically to sabotage competitor applications. Deliberate misrepresentation should be made actionable to nip that in the bud.
The problem is that it is nigh-on impossible to read a patent without your brain liquifying. I find it difficult to read even patents that I've originated and sent off for professional drafting. They are much less legible than the average legal document.
Trying to solve the wrong problem
The rationale behind patents -- rewarding inventors, etc. -- is dubious. Hustlers and lawyers get rich, and we end up with non-interchangeable parts. Video codecs, pipe fittings, screws... it's not just software. I'm not holding my breath, but I think we'd be better off without patents. Period.