David Kappos, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law at IBM, appeared on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Science Friday, as part of the show's celebration of National Inventors' Month. Host Ira Flatow focused a portion of the show to the patenting process, during which Kappos described the current system and explained to Flatow exactly why Peer-to-Patent is so important:
"The patent office has got a wonderful corps of folks. But as you mentioned, they are just outgunned. They’re overwhelmed with the hundreds of thousands of applications coming in, and they just do not have enough resource. Peer-to-Patent is just absolutely spot-on intended to help the patent office by leveraging the millions and millions of expert people around the world who can very easily comment on pending patent applications, saving patent office examiners tremendous amount of time and getting better leverage out of their efforts. "
Kappos also addressed some of the key concerns that many critics have with opening a traditionally closed process. He explained that while Peer-to-Patent does post pre-grant patent applications, those managing the program are sympathetic to privacy concerns:
"[T]he way the system works is it evaluates only those applications that are already published by the U.S. Patent Office, so the applications that are already out there in the public domain, so there’s no issue once you get into this system, Peer-to-Patent. There’s no issue of your application somehow being compromised because it’s already public. There are some other safeguards in the system, including, most principally, that the only applications that go into the system are ones where their author, the inventor, agrees to put the application in the system."
For more on David Kappos' NPR appearance, visit Science Friday online.