Whether because of inappropriately low standards for granting patents or recent decades’ outburst of inventiveness in technological fields, the Patent and Trademark Office is swamped. Patent examiners lack the breadth of knowledge in relevant fields to do the job they should be doing on each patent application. Drawing on the knowledge of interested and knowledgeable people can only improve the process, and this project aims to do just that.
I’ve written favorably about Peer-to-Patent a couple of times, but here’s a cautionary note: A successful Peer-to-Patent would result in a dispersion of power from patent examiners and the USPTO to the participants in the project. Surface support from the USPTO notwithstanding, the application of public choice theory to bureaucracies tells us that the agency won’t give up this power without a fight.