USPTO Meeting on Patent Peer Review Pilot Project Launch
Date: May 12, 2006
Location: USPTO Headquarters, Alexandria, VA USA
Registration and Information: here
Space is limited; Only the first 220 registrations can be accepted.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold a public meeting on "The Peer to Patent Project" for community peer review of patents on May 12, 2006, from 9:00 a.m. to noon in the agency’s Madison building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA. While the project website is calling this meeting a "project launch," the USPTO homepage refers to it as "a follow-up to the February 16th meeting, this briefing will focus on further developing previously discussed initiatives as well as answering the question of what constitutes valid prior art and a greater in-depth analysis of the peer review pilot project that is under consideration."
Among other things, the first meeting included a presentation by Professor Beth Noveck, of New York Law School (and author of "A Democracy of Groups"), on consulting "the community jury as a proxy for a person having ordinary skill in the art." In her view,
"The obviousness determination could be aided by a small group of
relevantexperts acting as a consultative citizen jury to aid the Examiner.
Members of the expert community evaluate and rate each other's participation.
The patent Examiner coordinates the back and forth colloquy with the inventor."
According to another presentation by Marc Erlich at the first meeting, what this really means is focussing on, access, review, and feedback during the patent examination process. In particular, Erlich sees the need for a simplified subscription-based e-mail alerting system (which most proactive attorneys have already implemented in one form or another). His new "platform for review of published applications" would provide "technology to simplify review" such as education on how to review patents, information on the reputation and background of experts ("based in part on history of results of prior art submitted to PTO"), and a discussion forum with "means to determine response to examiner, if any." In order to keep the system from turning into mob rule for patents, Erlich also suggests structuring the comments from prior art submitters with a very narrow submission template. See his intriguing examples here.
Here is the agenda for the next official public meeting on the Peer to Patent Project, which according to the unoffical project website, will launch on May 12:
9:00-9:10 Welcome John Doll, Commissioner for Patents, USPTO
9:10-9:30 Introduction, The Challenges of Patent Examination & The Need for Change Jay Lucas, Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, USPTO
9:30-10:00 Peer Review System Description Beth Simone Noveck, Institute for Information Law & Policy, New York Law School
10:00-10:25 “What is Valid Prior Art?” Robert Clarke, Deputy Director, Office of Patent Legal Administration, USPTO
10:25-10:50 “How to Review an Application”William Grant, Supervisory Primary Examiner, Technology Center 2100Sam Broda, Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration, USPTO
11:00-11:45 Peer Review Pilot Project Proposal Beth Simone Noveck, Institute for Information Law & Policy, New York Law School Marc Ehrlich, Counsel, Patent Portfolio Management, Intellectual Property & Licensing, IBMManny W. Schecter, Associate General Counsel, Intellectual Property & Licensing, IBM
11:45-12:00 Update on Related Projects: OSSI Prior Art Database, Jack Harvey, Director, Technology Center 2100
Although the unofficial project site is calling for a launch date of May 12, 2006, it appears that the group may still be ironing out a few details. An earlier unofficial meeting notice also appears on their website under a "Community Patent" misnomer:
Date: May 9, 2006
Location: Stanford Law School, Center for Internet and Society
Topic: HCI and the Design of Community Patent
This Workshop brings together renowned human-computer interface (HCI) and
computer science experts with lawyers and legal scholars from Stanford and the
vicinity to discuss the design of the community patent system. Once we have
identified the participants in the process, we need to manage their input. Our
proposal assumes that we need ways to make the input of these experts manageable
and relevant to the Patent Office and visible by participants in the process. To
that end, this Workshop addresses the role that collaborative filtering and
information visualization technologies might play in managing the peer review
process. Could Wikis be useful? Is a folksonomy necessary? Might visualization
tools strengthen the community of peer reviewers? In addition to tools, what
procedures and practices might be encoded into the software to make input both
structured and relevant?