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Reviewed 1 June 2011

Baroness Wilcox launches Peer To Patent in the UK

An innovative new tool designed to help improve the patent application process was launched today by the Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Wilcox. Peer To Patent is a review website which allows experts from the scientific and technology community to view and comment on patent applications.

During the six month pilot up to 200 applications in the computing field will be gradually uploaded for review on the website. These will include a range of inventions from computer mice to complex processor operations.

Today, the first group of applications have been uploaded to the Peer To Patent website External Link and are now open for review by registered users for three months. Following this, the system will create a summary of the comments which will be sent to a Patent Examiner at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Examiners will then consider these as part of the patent review process.

Speaking about the launch in the UK today, Baroness Wilcox said:

"Patent applications granted after using the Peer To Patent website review will be potentially stronger, giving businesses better protection to grow their innovative ideas. This will give the IPO access to a wider body of knowledge when deciding whether a patent should be granted.

"The pilot will give experts the opportunity to comment on patent applications and share their vital expertise before patents are granted. It will also mean that inventions already known in the wider community will be filtered out more readily.

"Peer To Patent is a step forward in supporting growth by reinforcing the patent bedrock on which innovative businesses thrive."

President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) Alasdair Poore said:

"The quality of patent applications is so important. Interested observers are the ones who have the expert knowledge, so Peer To Patent gives them the chance to make a real contribution. We welcome this pilot as a way of exploring how third party opinions can really improve the quality of patents. I hope users, observers and applicants will engage positively and constructively in the pilot to show that it can work, and help to build a stronger UK patent system."

The UK pilot goes live today (1 June 2011) and follows on from successful Peer To Patent websites that have already been run in the USA and Australia. The project was developed by the New York Law School (NYLS) from the work of Professor Beth Noveck. The pilot will end on 31 December 2011.

Editors notes

  • The Intellectual Property Office is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
  • Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge based economy.
  • It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to IP to which the United Kingdom is a party.
  • For further information, please contact Intellectual Property Office Press Officer Dan Palmer on 020 7215 5303 or e-mail communications.

Date of release: 1 June 2011