Peer to Patent Australia launches today

Today, 9 December 2009, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in collaboration with IP Australia launches the Peer to Patent Australia (P2P Au) project.

This project follows on from the Peer to Patent projects run recently out of the New York Law School (NYLS) and the Japanese Patent Office, and is designed to improve the patent examination process and the quality of issued patents.

P2P Au is led by Professor Brian Fitzgerald at QUT and is using Web 2.0 technology to assist patent examiners in their assessment of whether an invention is new and inventive and thereby deserving of the grant of a patent. 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. By harnessing the power of community experts through Web 2.0 technologies, Peer to Patent Australia aims to make the patent examination process more efficient and accurate.

Peer-to-Patent Australia will initially run as a 6-month pilot that will focus on the rapidly advancing technology areas of business methods and computer software. Up to 40 business method, computer software and related patent applications that have been filed in Australia and which are open for public inspection will each be posted on the Peer-to-Patent Australia website for a 90-day period. 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.

At the end of the review period, P2P Au will forward the top 10 prior art submissions for each application, as selected by the community of reviewers, to IP Australia for consideration in the examination process. The review process in no way abrogates the responsibility of the patent examiner to assess a patent application. Prior art submitted by P2P Au is solely designed to assist a patent examiner, who remains the arbiter of whether a patent is to be granted.

The project uses a consent based model. Patent applicants will be asked to consent to having their applications included in the pilot. There are currently 7 applicants who have consented to participate. These are IBM, Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Limited, General Electric Company, Hewlett-Packard, Residex Pty Ltd, Yahoo and CSIRO. Those applicants have put forward 18 patent applications for peer review. 15 of those will be made available at the launch.

For anyone who is interested in participating in the prior-art-search, sign up at