The popular Q&A site Stack Exchange has teamed up with the U.S. Patent Office to crowd source the patent process. They are doing this with the launch of a new sub portal at patents.stackexchange.com. The channel dedicated to patents will allow the public to scrutinize pending patent applications and will allow them to submit information, and possible prior art for the Patent Office to review.
Once a patent examination has been made public, anyone that goes to the site can launch a discussion, offer up "prior art" if they believe the patent interferes with something that already exists or is widely used already. That collection of prior art is sent on to an examiner at the USPTO who will make a final decision. People are only allowed to make submissions with up to three pieces of prior art (additional submissions cost $120).
"Like almost any tech company, we think there’s a problem with patents and think something must be done," said Stack Exchange executive Alex Miller. "We think this is great way to make progress on patent problems as work toward fundamental reform. The second thing is empowers people who have this knowledge [to contribute to the patent system]."
"By introducing third party input into the examination process for the first time since the inception of our nation’s intellectual property system, we’re able to expand the scope of access to prior art in key areas like software patents," said Director of the USPTO David Kappos. "This will improve the examination process and advance the Administration’s ongoing commitment to transparency and open government. We encourage our nation’s innovators to follow Stack Exchange’s example and assist us as we improve the examination process and resulting patent quality that will drive our economy and create jobs and exports."
Source: GIGA OM