Peer to Patent Pilot

December 05, 2012

In June 2011 the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) launched a “Peer to Patent Pilot Scheme” during which 172 patent applications were made openly available for comments from the general public. The idea behind this is that by encouraging comments from the public, “the wisdom of crowds” can be used to help the UKIPO examine patent applications. The scheme lasted six months and the results have recently been published...

After a UK patent application has been published, any person may make comments (“third party observations”) in writing to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) regarding the patentability of the invention in question. This can be done until grant of the application. This system is not however widely used. The Peer to Patent Pilot took this concept further and actively opened up patent applications for comments from the public. The idea was to provide an extra resource for the UKIPO to make use of when examining patent applications. During the scheme over 450 reviewers signed up to the pilot and the pilot received over 6500 visits from 91 different countries. The rate of observations made with regard to the peer to patent applications increased dramatically compared with non peer to patent applications and the UK examiners found over half of the responses helpful in examining the patent applications. As a result of the pilot scheme, the UKIPO are working on improving their Ipsum service (Online Patent Information and Document Inspection Service - to allow people to make comments on patent applications more easily. This may be of interest to, for example, anyone who would like to prevent a competitor’s patent application from granting. It will potentially provide an easy way to present relevant information regarding the patentability of patent applications (such as prior art documents) to the UKIPO. If you would like any further information please contact your usual patent contact at Swindell & Pearson, or Ian Whiley at [email protected].

Swindell & Pearson has been helping businesses and individuals protect and defend their ideas, innovations and brands for over 130 years. With its head office in Derby, the firm also has offices in Stoke, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Sheffield and Burton. To find out how Swindell & Pearson can help you with any intellectual property requirements please get in touch via [email protected] or by telephone on 01332 367 051.