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About Community Patent

The Community Patent Review: Peer to Patent project

On June 15, 2007, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) opened the patent examination process for online public participation for the first time. With the consent of the inventor, the Peer-to-Patent: Community Patent Review pilot, developed by the New York Law School Institute for Information Law and Policy in cooperation with the USPTO, enables the public to submit prior art and commentary relevant to the claims of pending patent applications in Computer Architecture, Software, and Information Security (TC2100). This historic initiative connects an open network of community input to the legal decision-making process.

A summary of the first year's results is available in our Anniversary Report, available for download at

UPDATE: The USPTO announced the extension of Peer-to-Patent on July 17, 2008.  The program will now run through June 15, 2009.  In addition, eligible applications have been expanded to include Technology Center 3600 (Class 705). Up to 400 applications will be reviewed.

Peer-to-Patent involves 1) review and discussion of posted patent applications, 2) research to locate prior art references 3) uploading prior art references relevant to the claims, 4) annotating and evaluating submitted prior art, and 5) top ten references, along with commentary, forwarded to the USPTO. The goal of this pilot is to prove that organized public participation can improve the quality of issued patents.

Anyone in the public can participate as a reviewer, a patent application facilitator, and by sharing information about the pilot with others. Inventors can submit a qualified patent application for open review. Public participation is crucial to demonstrating the value of openness and making the case for greater USPTO accountability to the technical community. A successful pilot will also make a case for expanding to other subject matter.

For more information about how to participate as a reviewer or facilitator, browse our informational materials on the left column. To submit your application for review, visit our signup page.