*Anything* For A Better Process [9:07 am]
The government is about to start opening up the process of reviewing patents to the modern font of wisdom: the Internet.
The Patent and Trademark Office is starting a pilot project that will not only post patent applications on the Web and invite comments but also use a community rating system designed to push the most respected comments to the top of the file, for serious consideration by the agency’s examiners. A first for the federal government, the system resembles the one used by Wikipedia, the popular user-created online encyclopedia.
“For the first time in history, it allows the patent-office examiners to open up their cubicles and get access to a whole world of technical experts,” said David J. Kappos, vice president and assistant general counsel at IBM.
It’s quite a switch. For generations, the agency responsible for awarding patents, one of the cornerstones of innovation, has kept its distance from the very technological advances it has made possible. [....]
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Maintaining a reliable Web-based reputation has become an increasingly pressing concern for Web companies as they seek to reassure users that they can trust the strangers they do business with online. So the designers of the new patent-review system consulted some of the Internet’s leading experts on reputation, Noveck recounted. These included specialists from eBay and Rob Malda, aka CmdrTaco, the founder of the popular technology Web site Slashdot.org.