CNet reports on Wikipatents.com, a newly set-up website allowing the public to rewrite a patent's description in laypersons' terms, rate the technical accuracy of a patent, vote on a reasonable royalty value, and divulge information about its availability for licensing. Thus far the site is limited to patents that have already been granted. Members of the public can also make a note of prior art that they feel to be relevant to the patent in question. The site comes at a time when the USPTO has highlighted its intention to establish a peer review mechanism for patents.
The IPKat says that at the end of the day, the contents of the patents in question are public information and so free for public comment. However, this is no substitute for proper examination and, as with all Wikis, it is open to inaccurate or biased treatment by (often well-meaning) members of the public.
The good news is that the Community Patent finally has a launch date – Jaunary 2007! The (sort of) bad news is the Community Patent in question is the New York Law School’s Community Patent Review, which (according to its website) ‘seeks to create a peer review system for patents that exploits network technology to enable innovation experts to inform the patent examination procedure.’