UK Intellectual Propery Office (UKIPO) reveals relative success in the ‘Peer to Patent’ pilot

The notion behind ‘Peer to Patent’ is to provide a web-based interface that more easily enables the general public, especially technical research communities, to contribute observations on patent applications.  It is hoped that implementing this type of system at the UKIPO will increase the useful information available to patent examiners, thereby improving the patent examination process.

The UKIPO ran a pilot for 9 months and limited the study to 172 applications in the specific field of computing.  The final report reveals that the rate of observations increased from below 1% to 6% and, importantly, over half of these observations contained relevant information for the patent examiner. The UKIPO has therefore concluded that this system appears to make an incremental, but significant improvement in their ability to obtain prior art relevant to patent applications. 

Looking forward, the UKIPO believes this relatively encouraging result justifies the introduction of an observations submission button on their online patent information system: Ipsum. It has been indicated that further enhancements may be included over time such as providing a discussion forum with listed observer submissions and assisting with the accessibility of applications to enable reviewers to focus on technical areas of interest.

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