Linux Defenders expand initiative against patent trolls
The Linux Defenders organisation was Established in December 2008, with the aim of eliminating poor quality patents. Its Defensive Publications initiative is intended to improve the quality of patents and fight patent trolls through pre-emptive disclosure, publishing descriptions and artwork of a product, device or method, so that it enters the public domain and becomes prior art. Prior art is a legal term in patent law signifying all relevant information that was publicly accessible, before the submission of a patent. If prior art can be proven, any patent application will have trouble standing up in court.
The organisation has now added two further projects asking for active help from the Linux Community in order to strengthen Defensive Publications.
The Peer to Patent project, an initiative by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, USPTO, is aimed at making the US patenting system more transparent and open to the public. An internet portal is to be jointly created by the USPTO and Linux Defenders to enable the community to provide information to the Patent Office about pending patents that will help clarify whether a patent should actually be granted.
Where a patent has been granted, interested parties can examine it, peer-review style, and report on it via the Post-Issue Peer to Patent project. That, it is hoped, will make it easier to declare weak patents invalid.
It should be noted that these initiatives are primarily U.S. centric and will only have an indirect effect on UK or European patents.