In order to accelerate and improve the process of reviewing patents, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is experimenting with wikis. As the Washington Post explains, it's all part of a plan to bring a little "crowd wisdom" to the patent application process:
"The Patent and Trademark Office is starting a pilot project that will not only post patent applications on the Web and invite comments but also use a rating system designed to push the most respected comments to the top of the file, for serious consideration by the agency's examiners.
A first for the federal government, the system resembles the one used by Wikipedia, the popular user-created online encyclopedia. "For the first time in history, it allows the patent-office examiners to open up their cubicles and get access to a whole world of technical experts," said David Kappos, vice president and assistant general counsel at IBM."
Anyway, it looks like this idea could catch on with innovators and inventors everywhere: the story about the patent wiki has already been posted on Slashdot. The project began as a collaboration between IBM, the top recipient of U.S. patents for 14 years in a row, and NYU law school professor Beth Noveck. As Noveck points out, the wiki initiative will bring about "the first major change to our patent-examination system since the 19th century."
[image: Something Wicked This Way Comes]