funny pictures of cats with captions

Did you know that someone has a patent (US Patent 5443036) over using a laser pointer to exercise a cat? Serious. Likewise, The Walt Disney Company has a patent (US Patent 5392735) on a device for talking to dolphins (and perhaps even “whales and porpoises” too)? With approximately 1 million patents being applied for across the world each year the task of examiners especially in assessing new technologies has become increasingly difficult.

A new service in Australia will help sort the patent chaff. Starting this morning, the newly-launched Peer-To-Patent Australia project is designed to improve the process and the quality of issued patents by helping to assess whether an invention is new and inventive. How? With your help!

The idea is simple really: harness the power of community experts through Web 2.0 technologies to improve the patent examination process. The site publishes pending patent applications from consenting applicants which are made available for comment for 90 days. During that time, members of community can review those applications, submit prior art references and comment on the relevance of any prior art that has been put forward.

Up on the site from today is 15 applications from applicants including IBM, General Electric Company, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo and CSIRO. Here’s a little sample of what you will find:

  • converting a decimal number to a binary representation based on processor size;
  • detecting behavioural patterns related to the financial health of a business entity;
  • an arrangement where a customer enters into an agreement with a lender to share equity in real estate property;
  • efficient cooling of server farms;
  • refining mobile device search results using location modifiers;
  • integrating browsing histories with media playlists on a media playback device;
  • interactive specification of context-sensitive service level agreements;
  • controlling a network of trains; and
  • gaming machine systems and methods.

Peer-To-Patent started in the United States as a collaboration between the New York Law School in collaboration with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Here in Australia, the project is led by Professor Brian Fitzgerald and is a joint initiative of Queensland University of Technology and IP Australia.

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