Crowd-Sourcing for Prior Art


A recent Wall Street Journal article takes a look at the latest application of crowd-sourcing, this time within the patent industry. As the patent wars rage on, tech companies are soliciting help from the public to crowd-source evidence of prior art. Such evidence is used in patent infringement litigation to invalidate the patents these tech companies are allegedly infringing. The article highlights Article One Partners LLC, a New York-based company hired by major tech-companies to conduct research or prior art in hopes of invalidating the underlying patent.

Here is an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal article entitled, Tech Firms Crowd-Source to Fight Suits, which can be read in full here.

Article One, a New York-based company founded 3½ years ago, opened its Silicon Valley office last August in Palo Alto and has benefited as patent suits have proliferated in the region. With tech companies chasing hot technologies like smartphones and social networking, rivals are increasingly looking to settle their differences in court. Article One says its largest concentration of clients—some 15%—are in Silicon Valley.

Overall, about three-quarters of Article One’s cases are related to high-tech. The site currently features studies seeking prior art on technologies ranging from virtual keyboards to digital payments. Clients pay about $25,000 a study, or they pay varying annual subscription fees. The amount includes the awards for the people who find the best research.

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