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

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]

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