Let's face it. The patent system is a mess. Applying for a patent can be a process that takes years. Then there's the issue of prior art. Is this patent valid? Was it obvious? Should it have been granted in the first place? And that's without getting into whether or not other devices infringe. It can be a huge cluster of ugly. Enter AskPatents. This new Stack Exchange site has been set up to crowd source the finding of prior art and researching whether or not patents are valid.


The site functions very similarly to other hivemind information hubs like Metafilter or, you know, Stack Exchange. Users can ask questions and respond with their own research to others' queries. There are upvote mechanics, badges that are awarded for various accomplishments, and even a reputation system to let everyone know how reliable the community finds your answers.

AskPatents was set up at the request of the Director of the USPTO, which is kind of a big deal. Not only because of the official involvement, but because we all know the patent office is overwhelmed (hence the years-long delay). While it's unlikely this new forum will significantly decrease wait times for patent applications, every little bit helps.

Source: AskPatents via Stack Exchange Blog

Thanks, Sheldon!

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

    Anyone considered asking about rounded corners?

    • John O’Connor

      well my ass has rounded corners, but I certainly don't have any fruit logos on it

      • DCMAKER

        You don't wear fruit of the loom? well i guess your covered from getting your ass sued off by Apple. Someone needs to make an epic picture of that...the black boarded picture thing

        • John O’Connor

          Lol. Considering my underwear costs about $40 a pair I suppose I may as well be paying a fruit tax. But then again, there is no substitute for quality and comfort.

          • DCMAKER

            you wouldn't be wearing the awesomely soft smooth and silky...silky boxers!!! I love those.

          • John O’Connor

            Seeing as it is 230 in the am, I believe it's commando time. So the only fruit to be sued is that with which I was born. Consequently, I will be vehemently defending with prior art claims of vast predation.

          • DCMAKER

            lol I am going to buy a pair of fruit of the loom boxers and make that epic picture of getting your ass sued off by apple. It will be epic!

  • Matthew Fry

    Yay! Government office had a good idea!