Peer to Patent

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The Peer to Patent Project /Community Patent Review

More info at


Beth Noveck: "What Problem Does It Solve: The sole patent examiner is not good at uncovering prior art, determining obviousness or utility or deciding what inventions merit a 20-year grant of monopoly rights.

How Does It Do That: By connecting the community of scientific experts to evaluate the merit of inventions for patent protection, the peer-to-patent system brings a much wider array of expertise to bear on making decisions about national innovation. This on-line system combines the technologies of collaborative filtering and reputation to offer on-line patent blue ribbon juries.

Why Is It Different: It replaces the single examiner with the group of scientific experts.

Who Will Use It: Government patent offices to reduce the burden on patent examiners and increase the quality of innovation.

More Details: The patent system is broken. The United States Patent Office, which was intended to foster innovation and the promotion of progress in the useful arts, instead, creates uncertainty and monopoly. Underpaid and overwhelmed examiners routinely approve petitions without review. They struggle under the burden of 350,000 patent applications per year. As a result, multiple patents have been given for the same invention or patents awarded for inventions discovered previously. But what if we could also make it easier to ensure that only the most worthwhile inventions got twenty years of monopoly rights? What if we could offer a way to protect the inventor’s investment while still safeguarding the marketplace of ideas from bad inventions? What if we could make informed decisions about scientifically complex problems before the fact? What if we could harness collective intelligence to replace bureaucracy? This modest proposal harnesses social reputation and collaborative filtering technology to create a peer review system of scientific experts ruling on innovation. By using social software, we can apply the “wisdom of the crowd" – or, more accurately the wisdom of the experts – to complex social and scientific problems and bring more expertise to bear. This has far reaching implications beyond the patent process. It implies a fundamental rethinking of our assumptions about governance. For a longer description, please visit the Peer to Patent site.

Status of the Project

After one year, encouraging results:, July 2008

More Information

For More Information:: Contact Beth Noveck at [email protected]

Older one page project description at

The proposal and paper here:

The driving theoretical article, "A Democracy of Groups" here: