Crowdsourcing Patent Application Review: Leveraging New Opportunities to Capitalize on Innovation?
This paper evaluates the value proposition of public-private partnerships to patent review by analyzing the potential impact of crowdsourced prior art search on the European patent system. This first requires outlining the current challenges patent offices in Europe face due to their tremendous workload. The worst consequence of this for the innovation system – a drop in granted patent quality – is then described. Low standards in patent quality are believed to be the result of enormous strain on, and unreasonable expectations of, patent offices. Crowdsourcing offers a solution to many of these problems and presents a valuable resource for patent offices if the process is managed efficiently. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Japanese Patent Office’s (JPO) pilot projects in community patent review are presented as opportunities from which Europe can learn. Promoting public-private partnerships in the management of crowdsourced prior art search can be a valuable solution to mitigate current challenges.