Crowd-sourcing Software Patent Evaluations

In talking with the guys at The Conversation, I mentioned the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office‘s project for crowd-sourcing evaluations of software patent applications, called Peer-to-Patent.

Dan and Dave expressed some interest in the peer-to-patent program:

“[Never heard of it], but it sounds awesome.”

–Dave Nanian


There is a guide on how it works, and here is their attempt at marketing copy:

“Peer-to-Patent opens the patent examination process to public participation for the first time. Become part of this historic program. Help the USPTO find the information relevant to assessing the claims of pending patent applications. Become a community reviewer and improve the quality of patents.”


The project is not currently running, and no “active patent applications” are being evaluated:

U.S. Peer-to-Patent in Evaluation:

“The U.S.Patent and Trademark Office and New York Law School are presently preparing an evaluation of the two-year Peer-to-Patent U.S. pilot. Results of that evaluation should be complete by the end of the year.

However, David Kappos (the current leader at the Patent & Trademark Office) was involved in designing it, and has recently (Friday) expressed interest in continuing it.


Also, there is a related grass-roots effort coordinated by the center for patent innovations at the New York Law School, called Post-issue. Rather than evaluating pending patent applications, Post-issue attempts to gather similar community input on certain issued patents:

“Post-Issue Peer to Patent, or simply Post-Issue, seeks to improve the quality of patents by providing a framework for ferreting out weak, non-meritorious patent claims in patents that have issued.

Harnessing the power of a community of peer reviewers created through Peer to Patent (www.peertopatent.org), Post-Issue elicits previously unidentified prior art that may invalidate or narrow the claims of issued patents. In so doing Post-Issue provides greater freedom to innovate, removes uncertainty from the patent system, and provides greater certainty as to the value of issued patents.

Whether for-profit or non-profit, whether for responding to demand letters or litigation or for improving a party’s own patents, all parties are invited to request posting of patents to Post-Issue for review.”


Calibrate your expectations, because participating in this kind of program takes a lot more effort than your average comment on a blog (and probably more than your average blog post!)

If the service is successful, it just might be worth the effort.