If you haven't yet heard about the efforts to bring an open-source approach to patents that will improve their quality, I encourage you to read Irving Wladawsky-Berger's related blog entry, "Improving Patent Quality as a Community
," which aptly describes this initiative, which "bring the spirit of collaborative innovation to the really difficult challenge of improving the quality of patents." The three elements of the patent quality initiative:
- Open Patent Review will establish an open, collaborative community review in the patenting process. The project will use regularly scheduled USPTO email alerts with links to newly-published patent applications as a way to invite the public review and feedback on prior art.
- Open Source Software as Prior Art -- the Open Source Development Lab, along with IBM, Novell, Red Hat and SourceForge, are developing an electronic system to store open source software code in a searchable format. The system will enable patent examiners and the public to review the code and identify prior art.
- The Patent Quality Index evaluates if a patent meets the standards of patentability determined by patent law. The Index, which will rank patent applications based on their clarity and substance, also will serve as a best practice tool for patent applications, holders and examiners.
See also Bob Sutor's related blog entry
(hosted on developerWorks), which boasts a rich collection of links to related articles and blogs. You may also want to read about the Community Patent Project