May 14, 2008 12:29 ET

IBM Attorney to Moderate Panel on Peer Reviewed Patent Examination Process

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwire - May 14, 2008) - At the American Intellectual Property Law Association's Spring meeting being held in Houston, Texas, IBM's Associate General Council of Intellectual Property Law, Manny Schecter, will moderate a panel on the Peer-to-Patent project; a historic effort to improve patent quality by opening the examination process to community review.

Last June, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) opened the patent examination process for online public participation for the first time. With the consent of the inventor, the Peer-to-Patent: Community Patent Review pilot, developed by the New York Law School Institute for Information Law and Policy in cooperation with the USPTO, enables the public to submit prior art and commentary relevant to the claims of patent pending applications in Computer Architecture, Software, and Information Security.

This initiative connects a community of subject matter experts with examiners charged with uncovering any prior art, wherever it exists, that would impact a decision on whether a patent application covered an invention that was truly novel. Higher quality patents can help reduce the uncertainty that arises when patents of questionable merit are awarded.

Peer-to-Patent involves:

--  Review and discussion of posted patent applications;
--  research to locate prior art references;
--  uploading prior art references relevant to the claims;
--  annotating and evaluating submitted prior art;
--  top ten references, along with commentary, forwarded to the USPTO.

The goal of this pilot is to prove that organized public participation can improve the quality of issued patents.

Anyone in the public can participate as a reviewer, a patent application facilitator, and by sharing information about the pilot with others. Inventors can submit a qualified patent application for open review. Public participation is crucial to demonstrating the value of openness and making the case for greater USPTO accountability to the technical community. A successful pilot will also make a case for expanding to other subject matter.

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