Patents get a wiki and a marketplace, now to put them together

Patents get a wiki and a marketplace, now to put them together

Summary: Two big announcements about patents hit the wires today. The first, covered by Dan Farber and others, which has the U.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Patents
3

Two big announcements about patents hit the wires today. The first, covered by Dan Farber and others, which has the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) adopting the use of Web-based peer review and crowdsourcing in patent applications reviews, will change the nature of patents. The second, the introduction of LegalForce.com, provides the first marketplace for patents and intellectual property.

Now, how do we bring the two together, so that ideas in the patent process can be marketed, licensed or sold as they make their way through the review process? The USPTO can't be in the market-making business, but it can express information about patents in such a way they can be mashed up with market information to createWithout the economic connection, the USPTO's revolution is just a half-step toward change. a marketplace. 

LegalForce is the more revolutionary of the two moves, if the USPTO can make information about the progress of a patent through the review process so that ideas that are increasingly likely to have market value can be priced higher than ideas that are not real innovations. The peer review process, as David J. Kappos, vice president and assistant general counsel at IBM told The Washington Post, "I'm sure there will be a degree of gaming. There always is." 

The peer review system at the USPTO will award "gold stars" to helpful contributors, and may ultimately give some participants a vote that counts for more than others. Linking the results of contributions to market value would be a way to keep the process honest, because the market will be able to provide immediate feedback about the invention and reviewers' analysis.

Jim Moore of the Berkman Center at Harvard posts thoughtfully about the launch of LegalForce

LegalForce is revolutionary because it helps the patent system do its good work for society. LegalForce brings the benefits of “long tail” and e-commerce and easy user-interfaces to intellectual property. Again, kind of like what happened to real estate.

Moore goes on to say that "innovation is helped by paying inventors, and hurt by rewarding companies that steal ideas." Peer review without economic links will expose the patent process to debate about whether the patent itself is worthwhile rather than the value of invention.

Putting these ideas together, by making all review progress and invention information at the USPTO available for use by a marketplace like LegalForce.com, will transform the patent review process completely. Could it be more than coincidence that they were announced on the same day?

Without the economic connection, the USPTO's revolution is just a half-step toward change.

Topic: Patents

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

3 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Legalforce is NOT revolutionary!!!

    After reading your blog, I went to legalforce.com. It is my sincere opinion that it definitely does NOT look revolutionary, at least their beta release is NOT impressive. Following are my observations:

    1. Knowledge Process Outsourcing seems to be their forte. They are primarily catering to lawyers, since the founders themselves are lawyers and looks like they are leveraging from their back-end operations in India. A good business model nevertheless that benefits lawyers primarily, but outsourcing is not a revolutionary concept, it just makes business sense to lawyers.

    2. About legalforce following the Web 2.0 model. It looks like an incongruous mashup of the different Web 2.0 features out there. They have videos, without a clear purpose. They have forums, with little or NO activity at all. Doesn't look like a platform where people want to exchange/share ideas with each other. Its hard to imagine how they could interface with the patent wiki model.

    3. This is not the first website of its kind to offer a patent/technology marketplace. There are other very well established companies like yet2.com, etc, that are doing a far superior job than legalforce.

    Based on the three basic facts above, I don't see legalforce, the way they are, being a revolutionary company. The way I see it, it looks like a crude mashup between yet2.com and orkut.com for LAWYERS.

    It would be interesting if someone came up with a platform for INVENTORS, that is completely pro inventor. I think its about time an inventor who understands the needs of other inventors started a "revolution."
    nurall
    • have you checked www.legalforce.com recently?

      Have you checked the LegalForce (www.legalforce.com) site recently? It has become the larget legal social network site now.

      The cool feature they have is, everyone can ask and search for legal questions. They have over 400,000 questions. If you ask a new legal question, their lawyers will answer you in minutes.

      They also have interesting rating & review for law schools, law firm, and lawyers.
      dongdong_liu
  • RE: Patents get a wiki and a marketplace, now to put them together

    Have you checked the LegalForce (www.legalforce.com) site recently? It has become the larget legal social network site now.

    The cool feature they have is, everyone can ask and search for legal questions. They have over 400,000 questions. If you ask a new legal question, their lawyers will answer you in minutes.

    They also have interesting rating & review for law schools, law firm, and lawyers.
    dongdong_liu