Today, Public Knowledge filed comments with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, encouraging the USPTO to continue its efforts toward improving patent quality through engagement with the public. Earlier last year, the White House directed the USPTO to identify ways to use crowdsourcing to uncover prior art, the technical documentation necessary to reject bad patent applications. The USPTO requested public comments on how best to do so.
In comments joined by the Application Developers Alliance and Engine, Public Knowledge urges the USPTO to take this crowdsourcing initiative as an opportunity to work with software developers in finding prior art and improving patent quality.
The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, Director of Public Knowledge's Patent Reform project:
“Improving patent quality is, and should always be, the number one priority for the USPTO. Low-quality patents on obvious ideas, particularly in the computer software world, are the seeds of the abusive patent litigation that has cost small businesses, consumers, and the American economy enormous sums of money and productivity.
“The patent system can only keep up with the pace of the future if the USPTO engages those communities of software developers who are building that future. So we hope that, as we recommend in our comments, the USPTO uses this crowdsourcing opportunity to reach out to those communities, to jointly ensure that the patent examination system only issues high quality patents that advance rather than stymie the innovation economy.
“While comprehensive patent reform will require efforts from all sides — particularly from Congressional legislation to prevent the worst abuses of patent litigation — the USPTO's crowdsourcing efforts are an essential component of those efforts. We look forward to working with USPTO leadership as they continue to implement this program.”
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