Crowdsource platform to help shoot down bad patents

Yesterday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Stack Exchange and Google announced a new joint effort to try to bring an end to overbroad and ridiculous patents before they can be used by patent trolls to cause harm to companies. A change in U.S. patent laws went into effect this month that permits the USPTO to accept comments and evidence regarding prior art and obviousness from third parties when evaluating a patent application. Prior to this change in the law, the USPTO could not accept third party information.

To make the process easier, Stack Exchange and Google have teamed up to help the USPTO with the effort. Stack Exchange has been beta testing a forum for users to discuss and identify issues with patents. Using this platform, users can find a list of patents submitted for debunking, submit examples or evidence of prior art, and discuss validity. Once a patent has been vetted, users can submit the record to the USPTO to be considered in reviewing the application. To visit the live platform and help with the hunt, point your browser to

In conjunction with the effort, Google has modified their patent search site to show links to Stach Exchange discussions about any patents that come up in the search results.

Stack Exchange’s chief of staff Alex Miller is calling the process “Discover, Discuss and Document.”  Although there is no reward for busting a patent, Miller indicates they are considering some ways to recognize individuals who help bring a patent down. The implementation of a crowdsourcing solution for patent review grew out of an experiment that started back in 2007 called Peer to Patent, which showed the method was effective.

One downside to the effort is that it will only apply to new patent applications going forward for now. A question to consider though, is why do we have a patent system that works in such a way that this is even necessary?

source: Wired

About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a MINI Cooper, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three mostly grown kids and a golden retriever.

  • Rob

    lol there goes absolutely all of apples lawsuits and I expect that this will pretty much render apples win over Samsung null and void

  • RTWright

    I’m just happy to see that SOMEONE is finally doing something about this. Because as I have stated more than I can count, the Apple patents that they cling so hard to, they did NOT create a good 90% of them. They took from others and just renamed it and claimed a stupid patent on it.

    I really do not care about what Apple does as long as this stupid litigation crap stops. If they’d just get back to reinventing themselves like they’ve done so many times in the past. The would not need to press lawsuits on everyone. This entire patent war with them is the thing Steve Jobs wanted, he was hell bent on bringing down Android. Even from his grave he’s still doing so through a company that just can’t seem to get it through their head. You’re not the only kid on the block so play nice!

    Until Apple had started suing everyone over everything imaginable in patents, no one was really having these kinds of wars. Not to this level that is, sure people sue over patents but usually they were very strict circumstances. Like they copied the code directly from one source to another and tried to claim ownership. That is, pure theft, because you didn’t do anything but cut and paste and claim it. That’s a huge no no!

    What people need to realize here is that patents should never cover general usage of any kind of device. Just imagine if they patented the way you play an instrument? So many musicians would be getting sued! You can’t do that! Eddie Van Halen perfected that it’s patented! OMG! How stupid that would be right? Well that’s the level of stupidity we have here and now in these patent cases. Because if Apple had their way, they would be the only smartphone on the block!