The peer review phase of the inaugural Peer-to-Patent Australia pilot project is now complete. For those of you not familiar with the project, Peer-to-Patent Australia (www.peertopatent.org.au) is a web-based initiative aimed at supporting patent examination and improving the quality of issued patents in Australia. This is a joint project of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and IP Australia that was launched in December 2009. The project’s chief investigators are Professor Brian Fitzgerald and Ben McEniery.
The project is designed to prevent the grant of patents that do not satisfy the statutory requirements of novelty and inventiveness. It aims to achieve this goal by allowing members of the public to put forward prior art references to be considered by IP Australia’s patent examiners during patent examination. The object of the pilot is to test whether an open community of reviewers can uncover relevant prior art that might not otherwise be found by the patent office during a routine examination.
In all, 31 pending patent applications were reviewed by the community of peer reviewers during the six-month peer review phase. During that time, the community generated 106 prior art references in response to those applications. These prior art references will now be forwarded to IP Australia to be considered by the patent office in examination.
Peer-to-Patent Australia has now entered a six-month evaluation phase. During this phase, both IP Australia and QUT will evaluate the pilot’s success. The results of the pilot will be published in an anniversary report, which will be made available under a Creative Commons licence on the project website in December 2010. Any prior art submission applied in examination will be recognised in the ‘Prior Artist Awards’ section of the Peer-to-Patent Australia web site as information comes to hand.