*Hey, when we said you could find some “prior art” to render a patent irrelevant, we didn’t mean that you should organize a “human flesh search engine” and actually go out and find the prior art. That’...
*Hey, when we said you could find some “prior art” to render a patent irrelevant, we didn’t mean that you should organize a “human flesh search engine” and actually go out and find the prior art. That’s disruptive, and not even fair. Because, by the nature of patents, there’s always been tons of prior art. There was a gentleman’s agreement among the stakeholders that we’d license each others’ patents and lock everybody else out. Forget what Thomas Jefferson allegedly said about it way back when — that’s how the system actually works under industrial capitalism.
*Unleashing vast Internet hordes of people against the patent system is like translating the Latin Bible into the vulgar tongue. Pretty soon you’re gonna have half-educated fanatical guys in little home-made churches making up their own ideas about God. Mark my words, that’s not gonna end well.
“Crowdsourcing Prior Art to Defeat 3D Printing Patent Applications
BY JOHN F. HORNICK + ANITA BHUSHAN ON FRI, MAY 17, 2013 · GUEST AUTHOR, INDUSTRY INSIGHTS ADD COMMENT
“The America Invents Act changed U.S. patent law to allow preissuance submissions, a mechanism by which third parties can submit patents or printed publications to the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for consideration during patent examination, along with “a concise description of the asserted relevance of each submitted document.”
“The U.S. Congress intended preissuance submissions to help the USPTO increase the efficiency of examination and the quality of issued patents.
“Congress did not, however, intend the use of this mechanism to interfere with patent examination.
“Nor did it intend preissuance submissions to allow for third party protest or preissuance opposition.
“Yet a segment of the 3D printing (3DP) community, known as Makers, (((cue Twilight Zone music))) is using preissuance submissions as a sword to oppose 3DP-related patent applications. Perhaps more importantly, they are leveraging the concept of crowdsourcing to do so, potentially creating problems for patent applicants everywhere.
“To understand why and how Makers are mobilizing to challenge patents through presissuance submissions, one must first understand what 3DP is, and the composition of the 3DP community. (((lawyer briefing ensues)))
“People can and are using 3D printers to make just about anything. Ordinary people are using 3D printers to make things like working vinyl records, guns, cases for cellphones, jewelry, art, and even 3D printers that can self-replicate. And while 3DP is starting to tilt past the tipping point into the mainstream, the basic technology has been around since the 1980s. (((Luckily it was locked up with patents for quite a while, otherwise all this would have happened 30 years ago.)))
“The 3DP community consists of essentially four segments: small and large scale, closed and open. Although the lines between them can be fuzzy, the large-scale segment is essentially the industrial segment, which relies on a closed platform, and therefore on intellectual property. Of equal—and some would say more—significance, is the small-scale segment, which consists of entrepreneurs, garage, basement, and school lab innovators, and kids, many of whom are dedicated to open availability of the technology. They are called “Makers.” Makers are a growing and potentially powerful force, similar in some ways to PDP music file sharers, but more organized. (((And with worse taste in music.))) They are a community and decide, collectively, whether and what intellectual property is appropriate in the 3DP world. Makers would keep 3DP open and unhindered by the constraints of intellectual property.
“Makers have discovered preissuance submissi