Last week, Article One’s announcement of the $2 million in Rewards milestone was prominently featured on the well-known IPWatchdog IP blog. IPWatchdog’s Gene Quinn wrote that the announcement came just 11 months after the first milestone $1 million in January 2011, requiring less than half of the time needed for the first million.
Mr. Quinn opened by admitting that in 2008, when Article One launched, he had been skeptical of the crowdsourced model for prior art search. He said that it wasn’t until he spoke to Article One CEO Cheryl Milone personally and came to understand Article One’s philosophy that he overcame his skepticism.
Building on a conversation he had with Article One board member Marshall Phelps, Mr. Quinn summarized what he now thinks makes Article One so special:
“If you ask me, it is the fact that AOP is ‘ruthlessly agnostic,’ as Phelps put it, that is the secret to their success. After all, paying a reward for prior art wasn’t a new concept. There had been patent bounty hunters before, all of whom failed. So why would AOP be different? That was my question back in 2008 and the answer now seems clear. AOP researchers are not a bunch of patent busters hell-bent on destroying patents. Likewise, the AOP platform is not one that facilitates patent busting. I suspect that if the corporate philosophy of AOP were that patents are evil they never would have gained traction and wouldn’t be taken seriously.”
Mr. Quinn supported this conviction with evidence from the Researcher community. He mentioned the stories and research techniques of Stacy Anderson-Redick (right) and Michael Risch, both experienced Researchers who have been part of the community for many years. Mr. Quinn wrote of Mrs. Anderson-Redick: “she doesn’t really view herself as a patent buster, but when she does find prior art she feels as if she is ‘reassigning credit where it is due.’” Likewise, Mr. Risch was quoted as saying that “AOP provides me the opportunity to help companies and law firms make more informed IP-related decisions by uncovering prior art that can either substantiate or discredit patents.“
Simply put, the Article One community is not out to invalidate patents—just out to find the truth. If a patent is not found to be invalid after a search by the Community, Mr. Quinn noted, the new level of validation for the patent is equality important. Article One CEO Cheryl Milone may have put it best when characterizing the Article One community: “It’s a virtuous circle…The level of trust in the AOP community mirrors the optimism represented by the act of invention itself.”
Gene Quinn is an experienced patent attorney and the founder and editor of IPWatchdog.com. The blog was honored as 2010’s top blog in the IP category of the ABA Journal Blawg 100 list. The site is updated frequently with original and insightful content covering a broad range of topics, including IP policy, litigation, IP management, inventions, software patents, and copyright and trademark law. As Article One CEO Cheryl Milone has said previously on the IPWatchdog blog, IPWatchdog “is the best in class source of insights in our patent industry.” Article One would like to thank Mr. Quinn for his support!
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