The government has launched a digital patent application tool to enable the technology community to view and comment on patent applications.
The Peer to Patent pilot application will be overseen by the Intellectual Property Office for six months, with 200 applications in the computing field to be gradually uploaded for review on the website. The patent applications will range from inventions such as computer mice and complex processor operations.
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Baroness Wilcox, minister for intellectual property, said the process will give business more protection to grow their ideas.
"The pilot will give experts the opportunity to comment on patent applications and share their vital expertise before patents are granted. It will also mean that inventions already known in the wider community will be filtered out more readily," said Baroness Wilcox.
The first group of applications has been uploaded to the Peer to Patent website. A summary of the comments will then be sent to a Patent Examiner at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), who will then consider these as part of the patent review process.
Alasdair Poore, president of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, said: "We welcome this pilot as a way of exploring how third-party opinions can really improve the quality of patents. I hope users, observers and applicants will engage positively and constructively in the pilot to show that it can work, and help to build a stronger UK patent system."
Peer to Patent websites have already been run in the USA and Australia. The project was developed by the New York Law School (NYLS) (see video below) from the work of Professor Beth Noveck - recently appointed to lead open source policy in the UK's government.