28th jul, 2013

Getting knowledge off the shelf

Wired has a good article about activating the knowledge represented by patents.

Citing research showing that 65% of patents generated by research institutions are gathering dust in the IP vaults, the question put forward in the article is quite simple: How do we activate IP ?

One answer is of course marketplaces. Many such have sprung up over the years including one Danish. This however is not the answer.

Wired suggests a kickstarter for patents allowing the currently closed shelf to virtual browsing — so inventions are not only ‘filed’ or ‘granted’ but ‘browsed’ or ‘licensed’.

One challenge to this is that while there is 45.000 projects funded by Kickstarters there is annually being created 194.000 International PCT applications and 257.744 EPO patent applications. This is a huge amount of data that the kickstarters will have to evaluate.

The answer to this problem lies within the net itself. What did the net community do when faced with too much information? They curated the content. Some of the most popular services are those screening the content before presenting the best to you.

So the same could be done for patents. A kickstarter project could be curating all the data presented to potential backers. Evaluating patent quality etc. they could narrow down the field further.

A kickstarter for patents will come in two phases instead of one: curating and backing. Curating could be done by a network. The question is who should kick the patents…the inventor? The Kickstarter project has a dedicated soul behind every idea, investing his or her time in the project. An inventor would not necessarily be interested in making the same commitment, fx because he is a researcher and that’s whats he think is fun.

How would you solve this issue?

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