Stack Exchange Launches Ask Patents to Help Stop Patent Tomfoolery

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I think we can all agree that patents have gotten way out of hand here. Trolls of all shapes and sizes love to use ridiculous patents to force companies to settle for outrageous sums. Don’t want to spend countless dollars fighting a court battle over rounded corners? Settle with the patent holder. That’s been the suggested response for ages. Thanks to Stack Exchange, and a small provision in the America Invents Act, the public can finally get involved in the fight in earnest with Ask Patents.

What’s even better is that the Director of the United States Patent Trade Office, David Kappos, was the one that approached Stack Exchange about the whole deal in the first place. What, exactly, is Ask Patents? Stack Exchange explains it best:

Ask Patents is a new Stack Exchange site launching today that allows anyone to participate in the patent examination process. It’s a collaborative effort, supported by Stack Exchange, the US Patent and Trademark Office, and the Google Patent Search team. It’s very exciting, because it is opening up a process that has been conducted behind closed doors for over 200 years.

So, in collaboration with the USPTO, Ask Patents will let Joe Public easily submit prior art to debunk silly patents that really shouldn’t have been granted in the first place. If this even shaves off a tenth of the ridiculous patents that have been granted over the years, it should be chalked up as a success.

(via Stack Exchange)

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