Beth Simone Noveck, founder of Peer-to-Patent, has recently been published in Tokugikon's No. 249. Tokugikon is published by Japan's Patent Office Technology Research Association. The article, "Peer-to-Patent: Collaborative Government Examination," is an excerpt from Professor Noveck's forthcoming book. The article is available here and the Japanese translation here.
The international effects of Peer-to-Patent on both the patent examination process and the ascendance of collaborative governance are striking. The Japanese Patent Office is considering a Peer-to-Patent pilot. Likewise, the Gowers report in the UK recommended that the UK Intellectual Property Office enable a Peer-to-Patent pilot. The article discusses new challenges facing examiners as applications for computer software and "business methods" patents increase. Often, it is difficult to locate and identify prior art in these ever-expanding areas. In addition, software and business processes do not have extensive histories of patents or traditions of publication, making the search process even more difficult.
Professor Noveck states that "Constant advances in science make it difficult for national patent offices, even in the Internet era of exploding informational resources, to have access to the right and the relevant information." Public participation may become essential to making sure that low-quality or overly broad patents are not granted monopolies. According to Professor Noveck, "We now have the way, if we have the will, to extend the intelligence of the government institution by connecting it to the expertise of networks of small people outside government."