Science Progress published an article by Nancy Scola on Peer-to-Patent entitled "Better Patents Through Crowdsourcing." The article begins by describing the state of the patent system, illustrated by the infamous Blackberry case, which at one point had Blackberry maker Research In Motion cutting a settlement check for over $600M to a Virginia patent-holding firm.
For the article, Scola interviewed many of the people responsible for the success of the project, including one of the individual inventors participating in project, Blaise Mouttet, who said he took part in the program because he wants “the best possible prior art so that I get the best possible patent.”
Patent Failure author Michael Meurer expressed concern as to the projects limitations:
But some, of course, aren’t sold on what Peer-to-Patent can accomplish. While generally a fan of the project, Michael Meurer, author of Patent Failure, worries that there is only so much that better prior art solves. Software patents, he argues, are “intrinsically vaguer and more problematic” than those in other fields. But Mark Webbink, former intellectual property officer at the open-source company Red Hat Inc., who will be heading to New York Law School to oversee Peer-to-Patent’s expansion, shakes off the criticism. “Minimal reform legislation is tough,” he explains. “Major reform legislation is damn near impossible. You can hold your breath until software patents go away, but you’re going to expire before they do.”
The article can be read in its entirety here or by visiting www.scienceprogress.org/2008/08/better-patents-through-crowdsourcing/.
Science Progress is a project of the Center for American Progress.