[LINK] Peer-to-Patent Project

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Jan 13 10:24:48 AEDT 2010

QUT have joined the New York Law School's Peer-to-Patent project to
improve the examination and quality of business methods and computer
software patents: <http://www.peertopatent.org.au/>.

They are looking for volunteers to review patents. The first time I saw 
this I asked "why should I help someone make money out dubious
patents?". Ben McEniery, Project Manager at Queensland University of
Technology explained that the project is about stopping dubious patents:

     Peer-to-Patent Australia (www.peertopatent.org.au) is a project
that aims to re-establish the rightful balance between the interests of
the public and and the rights of patentees. The project seeks to protect
the public's right to access new ideas by ensuring that patents that
lack novelty or the requisite degree of inventiveness are not granted.

     The project addresses the examination and quality of business
methods and computer software patents.

     We are looking to build a community of volunteers to review
participating patent applications and bring relevant prior art to the
attention of IP Australia’s patent examiners.

     The project is based on the Peer-to-Patent project run by the New
York Law School (NYLS) and is the result of the collaborative efforts
between QUT and NYLS. The project will initially run as a six-month
pilot that will focus on the rapidly advancing technology areas of
business methods and computer software. Up to 40 business method,
computer software and related patent applications that have been filed
in Australia and which are open for public inspection will each be
posted on the Peer-to-Patent Australia website for a 90-day period.
During that time, members of the community can review those
applications, submit prior art references and comment on the relevance
of any prior art that has been put forward.

     At the end of the review period, Peer-to-Patent Australia will
forward the top 10 prior art submissions for each application, as
selected by the community of reviewers, to IP Australia for
consideration in the examination process. The review process in no way
abrogates the responsibility of the patent examiner to assess a patent
application. Prior art submitted by Peer-to-Patent Australia is solely
designed to assist a patent examiner, who remains the arbiter of whether
a patent is to be granted.

     There are currently 15 patent applications from seven companies
open for review. The participating companies include IBM, Aristocrat
Technologies Australia Pty Limited, General Electric Company,
Hewlett-Packard, Residex Pty Ltd, Yahoo and CSIRO.

     Since the focus of the pilot is on business methods and related
applications, there is an interesting array of new ideas and
technologies in the applications that are open for review. Those
applications include methods, systems and apparatus for:

         * converting a decimal number to a binary representation based
on processor size;
         * detecting behavioural patterns related to the financial
health of a business entity;
         * an arrangement where a customer enters into an agreement with
a lender to share equity in real estate property;
         * efficient cooling of server farms;
         * refining mobile device search results using location modifiers;
         * integrating browsing histories with media playlists on a
media playback device;
         * interactive specification of context-sensitive service level
         * controlling a network of trains; and
         * gaming machine systems and methods.

     Those wishing to review participating patent applications can
register at: www.peertopatent.org.au.

     At the moment, we are looking to build our community of reviewers.
Any assistance you might give by promoting the project would be greatly

     Ben McEniery

     Peer-to-Patent Australia Project Manager
     Faculty of Law
     Queensland University of Technology
     CRICOS Institution Code: 00213J
     GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, Queensland 4000


Tom Worthington FACS HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Lecturer, The Australian National University t: 02 61255694
Computer Science http://cs.anu.edu.au/people.php?StaffID=140274

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