For few years now, I had successfully done hundreds of patent prior art and patent invalidity searches. Most of these searches were with the US and Japan clients. Recently, I got to know about the 3rd party crowd sourcing platform models, those providing efficient patent search solutions. Example, Article One Partners and Patexia are some of those, providing very successful medium for the innovation companies and patents owners, enabling them to avail the patent search services at a fixed price, with the pool of efficient researchers.
Past few months, I have done half a dozen patent studies on these crowd sourcing platforms. Though all of my studies were ranked above 80%, but efforts went waste, because hundreds of hours hard work effort went off with no monetary benefits, like a lottery ticket.
Though it is a very good experience to work on such studies, I feel that the transparency system of such platforms are questionable. Hence, I thought of sharing my personal experience via this post.
Well, working on a technical subject is always an interest to me, but quite naturally, it is a very stressful job, mainly due to the long hours before the computer monitor, which heats up the brain quickly. A patent study, a patent reading of full text, drawing reference and PDF doc view requires 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. Normally, a patent analyst charge varies from minimum 20 USD to maximum 100 USD per hour, 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 is 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 it such model and concept, 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. These factors, gives me a second thought in spending valuable hours as lucky draw.
Other side, 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!!!.