Earlier this week I blogged about Steven Johnson’s wonderful new book Future Perfect, which lays out the Peer Progressive agenda. I am therefore particularly excited about yesterday’s launch of AskPatents, a collaboration between the USPTO and our portfolio company StackExchange. Joel Spolsky has a great blog post up on the StackExchange blog explaining the origins of and motivation behind AskPatents.
The basic idea is to access the broadest network possible to find prior art. Instead of relying solely on underfunded and overworked examiners, anyone can now contribute prior art. This was made possible by a provision in the America Invents Act, which lets independent third parties contribute prior art.
It is exciting to see this system at work — someone already provided an interesting link to a highly relevant publication by Opera several days before Apple filed for their double-tap to zoom patent. I hope that AskPatents not only will help prevent more inane software patents from being granted but also to invalidate some of the existing ones out there.