Web 2.0 is the phrase coined by O’Reilly Media in 2004 to describe the wave of new websites that offer user-edited content. Sites such as mySpace, Wikipedia, and Flickr offer users the chance to post, share, and add information to emphasize online collaboration. Starting this Spring, the U.S. Patent Office will join in on this wave.
The Patent Office will soon commence a pilot program that allows users to comment on posted patent applications over the internet. Resembling the system used by Wikipedia, the program is aimed to help overworked examiners cut down on patent examination time by offering them access to technical feedback that they would normally not have access to, as well as to make the patent examination process more democratic. Until this point, the examiners only rely on scientific writings and existing patents.
The program was championed by IBM, the top recipient of U.S. patents for the past 14 years, and NYU Professor Beth Simone Noveck. The participating companies include software giants HP, Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, and IBM, and these companies will agree to have their patents reviewed via the Internet upon submitting the application. The program initially calls for the examination of 250 patents in the field of software design.
Users will be able to share any information relating to the posted applications as well as solicit comments from others. Also, like the ratings systems employed by Amazon and eBay, a “reputation system” will be put in place to rank users based on the relevancy of their comments and their level of expertise. Patent examiners will be able to award users “gold stars” to people who submit useful information. Registered users ultimately vote on the comments, and the top 10 comments will be passed on to the examiner to help in deciding whether to issue a patent.
Filed under: In the USPTO by admin