The United States Patent and Trademark Office has unveiled its new program that allows the general public to provide feedback on pending patent applications. The program allows users to comment, support or oppose certain patent applications. The patent applications currently at issue are those in computer technology, which has become a “hot” area of patent law with the rise of the open source software movement. The current program is a test run, and will be reevaluated in a year. If the program is a success the USPTO plans to expand the program to other types of patent applications.
Bottom Line: The experiment has substantial promise. Still, there will unquestionably be attempts to undermine or promote patents in the public forums based on respective personal interests and other similar problems. If the program can survive these road bumps the IP community can expect this type of program to become the rule of intellectual property evaluation as opposed to its current exception status.