Company Reinvents BountyQuest In Attempt To Bust Bogus Patents

from the if-it-works... dept

Many of you probably remember BountyQuest, the company set up by Tim O’Reilly and Jeff Bezos as an attempt to bust bogus patents by reaching out to the “wisdom of the crowd” to dig up prior art. The initiative got plenty of attention, thanks to Bezos’ and O’Reilly’s involvement, but the project faded out and eventually just shut down after it failed in its high profile attempt to invalidate Bezos’ own infamous “one-click patent” (which has since run into troubles on prior art found by others).

Apparently, though, there’s a new startup that’s attempting to do pretty much the same thing. The Associated Press has an article about Article One Partners, whose business plan sounds like a photocopy of BountyQuest’s original plan. Apparently the AP reporters weren’t aware of BountyQuest, because it’s not mentioned in the article. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but considering the striking similarities between the two operations, you’d think it would at least merit a mention. Hopefully Article One can survive where BountyQuest flopped, but I’m not that hopeful, honestly. It could potentially work for a few high profile patents, but on average, it’s tough to get random people to get excited about digging up prior art on patents.

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Companies: article one, bountyquest

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Comments on “Company Reinvents BountyQuest In Attempt To Bust Bogus Patents”

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A nony mouse says:

The value of the historical record

This is actually an interesting (yet depressing) testament to the value of preserving the historical record. Despite the fact that BountyQuest “failed”, the fact that such an effort existed is an important historical fact. The Article One folks might benefit from contacting BountyQuest-involved folks that might give them some insight into how to make the effort work better this time around.

I’m actually more baffled by the fact that the memory of BountyQuest effort seems to have been lost so rapidly. I suppose in the internet age, historical cycles are much shorter than us “old folks” are accustomed to.

skeptic says:

Are we sure this is a good thing?

Pamela Jones over at Groklaw seems to have read some more detailed descriptions of the aims of this new group and is of the opinion that they are not good guys. It seems she believes they are out to strengthen patents, not invalidate patents.

I don’t know which it is, but I’d say let’s not be too hasty at celebrating the appearance of this new organization. They might not be anything we want to see.

Watcher says:

It's about patent validity

Seems the focus here isn’t busting patents or strengthening them, it’s about evaluating their validity. If prior art exists, the patent claims are invalid and shouldn’t have been granted. If not, that helps strengthen a claim.

And as for BountyQuest, I saw one article mentioned the founder used to be part of the earlier company, so that covers reaching out to them.

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