Computerworld (06/07/07) Rosencrance, Linda
(Summarized in ACM TechNews June 8, 2007)
"The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced the launch of the Peer Review Pilot, a project that is intended to improve the process of examining applications for computer technology patents. The pilot project, scheduled to start June 15 and run for one year, allows computer technology experts to submit technical references related to the claims of a published patent application before an examiner reviews the application. "Studies have shown that when our patent examiners have the best data in front of them, they make the correct decision," says patent office director Jon Dudas. "Examiners, however, have a limited amount of time to find and properly consider the most relevant information. This is particularly true in the software-related technologies where the code is not easily accessible and is often not dated or well-documented." Technical experts will review and submit information on up to 250 published patent applications. Patent applicants who volunteer for the project will be required to give their permission for the patent office to collect comments, because the current law prohibits the public from submitting commentary without the permission of the applicant, according to a statement released by the patent office."