For inventors, something Wiki this way comes
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
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."
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