I’m working on a concept called Patentwiki.cc, a site where people, communities, and organizations can share and refine concepts prior to patenting and/or copywrite protection. The idea is to create shared ownership by early contributors, supporters and sponsors of innovative processes and ideas. It should also provide a simple structure for non-contributors to license the use of the idea for commercial use with fees going to pay the owners of the patent/licence.
Contributing, supporting or sponsoring ideas gives you a stake in the future of that idea. The vision is to create a way to empower groups to take ownership of and shape the direction of ideas that emerge from the community themselves.
Currently startsups are in a race to commercialize innovations before larger organizations identify opportunities and competitive threats. This would also provide a framework for startups to collaborate on shared concepts building ecosystems giving them more defense against the competitive threat of larger organizations. The US patent system relies on a “first to invent” system which does not encourage any collaboration between inventors.
Think of this as a pre-kickstarter or pre-opensource where you can get concepts developed and protected allowing others to help further and build on the idea.
Ideally Patenwiki itself should be able to microfund startups built around these ideas giving the startup a core support group around central technology, process, or ideas.
An idea incubator? A License Incubator?
Here’s an example of the concept called the Apache Incubator http://incubator.apache.org
I would really value your input and ideas around this concept as a business model and as a community site. Do you see a need for it? Could you see participating in it?
UPDATE: thanks to @stowboyd for making me think about this some more. The idea was inspired by wikipedia. Namely the NPR like campaign to raise money for wikipedia and that they have not capitalized wikipedia as an idea ecosystem. As I was researching the concept of essentially open source patents I read the Wikipedia entry which gives examples of it being applied like the Open Innovation Network and OpenPatents.org. The model can work but it appears that the challenges to growth is the reluctance of patent holders to participate. The target for Patentwiki is not patent holders, but idea holders or pre-patent holders who, if given the right ecosystem will be willing participants.
I think there is potential for small startups to work on shared patents together, especially with shared or complementary business models with a licensing agreement between the group. It could also be a structured way to reward a crowdsourced effort where companies agree to licence the idea’s upon successful execution. It’s particularly important to patent business models early because the you only have a year from the first usage of a unique model.
I think what will really matter is how the incentives for participation are structured, how to encourage the highest quality contributions and the actual model for a licensing agreements of that sort.
Image by: mararie