ArticleOnePartners, Patella, and IPQuest are few of those crowdsourcing platform for Patent Search, who are providing very successful medium for the companies, the patent owners, by enabling them to avail the patent search services at a fixed price, with the availability of dead cheap patent searchers and scholars.
Whether these patent studies are efficient to the patent owners? Are they transparent enough to pay back the participating crowdsourcing members. While, it might be a reason that Patent Attorneys and the Patent Agents pay hefty price for their Patent Research and services in the US market. Patent Owners tend to look out for alternatives at cheaper cost.
But are they worth enough to protect the real intellectual rights, when technology knowledge is searched in public for the specific prior art, invalidation, or the patentability search.? On the other hand, Whether the members from the countries where large pool of technical resources, who participate in such crowdsourcing projects really benefited ?
I think answer to both the questions might comes as NO, because, disclosing projects in public domain could indirectly educate the competitors about what could be next from the project results. Similarly, though the participating members work very hard, and long hours to submit their findings, and even if they are ranked high in terms of relevancy, their efforts may go waste, just because the patent owner might reject all the submissions as irrelevant. Resulting, fake disclosures of award winners and paying negligible to the actual winners.
Though it is a very good platform to work on such search studies, the nativity of the transparency in such platforms are questionable, and are open to lot of criticism.
In work, a patent study to read full text, referring drawing, and full of review of PDF document requires at least an hour to read 50+ patent documents. So, the list of 5000+ patents can take anywhere between 100+ hours , say about a week or 10 working days, depending on the subject and technical depth.
For such patent search work, a patent analyst’s charges may vary from minimum of 20 USD per hour to maximum of 100 USD per hour, which would be proportionate to the subject and experience. It also differs by the type of search and intelligence analysis.
Though such crowd sourcing platform is a good model, free to participate policies attracts many efficient patent professionals, It may be one sided opportunity for the analysts and a great opportunity for the patent owners, who use these platforms in brining out more participants and closing the patent study with efficient results.
However, level of transparency followed by these crowd sourcing companies may be questionable? Virtually, killing thousands of hours of intellectual brains & resource hours. Yes, it may be a lucky draw for the winning contestant, but other 100+ participants may end up with nothing, may be the study results could be having just 1% difference to the winner. Yes, even if such model and concept is good , there shall be some remedies for searchers in not wasting duplicate time.
So my question here is that…. is there a lack of transparency in the number of submissions, the report of winning studies and the legitimacy of actual winners?
Platform allows to submit duplicate patents
As the contest or a project study of patent is announced, many searchers starts submitting the relevant patents, while they submit the patents, there is a possibility that many other researchers may submit the same patent, as all many users would be using the same of the kind of database sources & tools.
When submission is being done, the platform should allow or restrict or even to publish the list of patents already submitted as and when submitted, to inform the other searchers, about already submitted patents. So, such information can save thousands of hours of the searchers, the time management and efficiency can be utilized on other patent studies.
Platform does not disclose the winning studies. Same like, when the contest winner is announced, it would be a transparent model, if the winning patent is disclosed to the other participants, also legitimacy of patent winners, real photograph and real profile. Moreover, studies listed on those platforms becomes open to public, can also result in breaking of IP secrecy, as well publicize the motives of the study and the trend, at the cost of the searchers!.