Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

Wiki Community Patent Review

Posted in General Commentary, Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on September 4, 2006

A “wiki” site is a type of website that allows visitors to easily add, remove, or otherwise edit and change some available content.  A famous example of a wiki site is Wikipedia, which I have discussed or used as a resource in previous postings.

Apparently, the wiki concept has now been applied to the wide world of patents.  At WikiPatents, the public is allowed to comment on issued patents and (in the future) pending patent applications in a wiki format.  This beta site states that WikiPatents was established to provide public patent clarity, and that it presently represents only “the tip of the iceburg” of future development aimed to improve the US patent system.  It is hoped by the site’s administrators that Wikipatents will become an indispensable resource for patent Examiners, law firms, future litigants, licensees, potential investors, inventors, and patent owners.

Anyone can join the WikiPatents Community for free and voice concerns, praise, comments, and opinions on any issued patent.  Specifically, Wikipatent members have the ability to do the following: 

Add prior art, and vote and comment on its relevancy and implications;
Add relevant links and other useful resources;
Promote specific patents by linking them to social news, bookmarking, and networking sites;
Comment and vote on the legal strength and technical merits of patents;
Value patents by calculating market size, market share, and reasonable royalties;
Discuss licensing options;
Add relevant information about the inventor(s) and/or owner(s) of patents;
Comment on the legal strength and technical merits of patents; and 
Download free patent PDFs.

So, ok . . . a potential new tool for inventors, practitioners and Examiners to use.  More tools is always better, and I hate to jump to any conclusions one way or another.  However, I am apprehensive that the quality of a wiki patent review may be questionable, particularly in light of the quality problems known and admitted with Wikipedia.  A consensus conclusion is not necessarily the correct conclusion. 

Only time will tell, and I’ll try to visit this site over the next several months to see what it offers (and will provide updated posts accordingly).