Feeds

IPO finally begins peer review pilot to test patent applications

Getting experts to wade in on invention claims

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

The UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is finally opening its patent process up to a collaborative internet project, after four long years of chin-stroking.

The Peer To Patent scheme, which is already being tested in the US, Japan and Australia, was officially launched in Blighty this morning by Baroness Wilcox, who is the minister for Intellectual Property.

Prime Minister David Cameron, as part of the government's recently announced IP Google review, said late last year that he wanted the UK patent laws to be "fit for the internet age".

It was confirmed at that point that the IPO would run an initial six-month Peer To Patent pilot, giving members of the scientific and tech community the opportunity to comment on patent applications and rate contributions accordingly.

The IPO has handpicked up to 200 applications in the computing field that will be uploaded into the project over the course of the next six months.

It said a range of patent applications for inventions such as computer mice and complex processor operations will be made available for limited, expert scrutiny.

The first such applications should be available here for the next three months, but the site requires registration first.

A patent examiner will be privy to a range of comments for his or her consideration; in theory the remarks should form part of the overall review process.

Wilcox said: "Patent applications granted after using the Peer to Patent website review will be potentially stronger, giving businesses better protection to grow their innovative ideas. This will give the IPO access to a wider body of knowledge when deciding whether a patent should be granted.

"The pilot will give experts the opportunity to comment on patent applications and share their vital expertise before patents are granted," she added. "It will also mean that inventions already known in the wider community will be filtered out more readily."

Critics might struggle to warm to the notion of what is essentially a crowd-sourcing exercise, albeit with a small bunch of in-the-know folk, no matter how sophisticated the project may seem at the outset. Others could contend that the UK patent system has lacked such intervention from interested third parties for years – better late than never, in which case.

One-time White House adviser Beth Noveck was very recently poached by the Treasury to become part of what the Coalition, at least, considers to be something of a digerati dream team that includes Martha Lane Fox, Tim Kelsey and Tom Steinberg.

Noveck just so happens to be the brains behind the original Peer To Patent project, which was developed by the New York Law School in 2006. Not long after that the IPO, the USPTO and others began mulling over the merits of such a system.

The United States began its first Peer To Patent pilot in June 2009. A second review scheme is already underway there, and this is expected to end on 31 December 2011, the same day that the UK's initial trial of the system concludes.

The IPO, meanwhile, first floated the idea of adopting the peer review scheme for patents way back in early 2007, just before mobile apps went through an embryonic burst on Apple's then new iPhone. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.