Project that Crowdsources Patent Review Gets a Second Life

You may remember the Peer To Patent pilot project, an innovative collaboration between  the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and the Center for Patent Innovations at New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Policy. The pilot, which ran from 2007 to 2009, used crowdsourcing and the power of the Internet at large to help vet applications for business-methods and software patents.

(We did a Lawyer2Lawyer podcast on the project when it concluded and I earlier wrote about it at Legal Blog Watch.)

Now, Peer to Patent is back, with a new pilot that launched Oct. 25 and that will continue to accept applications through Sept. 30, 2011. A USPTO press release explains how the project works:

Under the pilot program, inventors can opt to have their patent applications posted on the website. Volunteer scientific and technical experts then discuss the applications and submit prior art they think might be relevant to determining if an invention is new and non-obvious, as the law requires. After the review period, the prior art is sent to the USPTO patent examiners for their consideration during examination.

The new pilot will accept 1,000 applications, a nearly three-fold increase from the 400 handled under the earlier pilot, according to an NYLS announcement. Also, it will accept applications for a broader range of patents from the business-methods and software patents covered under the first pilot; it will now include biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, telecommunications and speech recognition technology.