On Friday a puzzled IPKat asked, "What is happening to the Peer-to-Patent project in the United States?" Well, he has just received a most helpful answer from Mark Webbink (Visiting Professor and Executive Director, Center for Patent Innovations, New York Law School). Writes Mark:
"Much of the confusion has come become those who write headlines are not those who write the articles, and sometimes those who write the articles don't read carefully. The USPTO decided not to extend the Peer-to-Patent pilot beyond a second year in order to have an opportunity to evaluate the impact of the program. There may have been other motivations, but that is the only one they expressed to the project team. A decision to not extend the pilot did not mean the project had ended, only that it would no longer be accepting new applications.
Meanwhile, in the last few days before the window for new applications closed, the project received an additional 30 applications. At present we have over 60 applications still requiring peer review, and we will still be in business well into the fall processing those applications.
In the interim we expect to see Dave Kappos sworn in as the new director of the USPTO, and Dave has been an enthusiastic supporter of Peer-to-Patent since its inception. That doesn't mean Peer-to-Patent will get a free pass and automatically get incorporated into USPTO practice, but we do expect to get a fair hearing and, subject to the severe budgetary constraints facing the USPTO, we expect the USPTO to adopt Peer-to-Patent or some derivative thereof.
In the meantime, we are alive and well. By the way, as indicated in our Second Anniversary Report, a majority of examiners found the Peer-to-Patent produced prior art to be helpful, and an even larger number thought Peer-to-Patent should be incorporated into USPTO practice".The IPKat loves experiments and thinks this one has great potential for a variety of reasons. He says, if the evaluation is positive, fine. If not, don't scrap the scheme but instead let's address the weaknesses and see how it can be made to work.