Facilitator Guidelines


Thank you for signing up to be at the vanguard of public participation in patent examination. We celebrate your willingness to get involved. You are helping to demonstrate that the public can improve patent quality by providing more and better information to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Your role as a Facilitator is to encourage participation by the public in the review of a patent application.

Your main focus will be to bring out the best participation among those who have the relevant information. Facilitators do not need to be legal experts and are not required to interpret the patent application. One or more Facilitators will be assigned to each patent application submitted for open review.

The goal of Peer-to-Patent is to allow the public to research and upload publications—known in patent law as “prior art”— that will inform the patent examiner about the novelty and obviousness of the invention. The community will identify how the prior art is relevant to the claims of the patent application. Only the ten best submitted prior art references that apply specifically to the claims, as determined by the online review community, will be forwarded to the USPTO.

As a Peer-to-Patent Facilitator, you will:

  • Encourage community involvement by posting updates on the patent application home page;
  • Jump-start participation with your own postings to the discussion board;
  • Focus community attention on finding prior art and identifying experts who might know where to find it; and
  • Help flag any inappropriate content.

As a Facilitator or Co-facilitator, you will do the following:

1) Register: Register on the Peer-to-Patent Web site at http://www.www.peertopatent.org/signup and indicate, where marked on the profile page, that you are willing to serve as a Facilitator and your availability. You may use a pseudonym but please enter only complete, accurate, and truthful information.

2) Fill Out Your Profile: Complete the participant profile with information about your professional and educational expertise, interests, and experience. Knowing more about you will enable us to assign an appropriate patent application for you to facilitate. The better the community gets to know you and your expertise, the better people can understand what questions to ask you (e.g. legal or scientific) and the more people will be encouraged to complete their own profiles. We are trying to build an innovation community, and that means getting to know one another.

3) Accept an Application to Facilitate: A Facilitator serves for four months. You may not be a relative, employee, or former employee of the inventor or assignee of the application that you facilitate. If you feel that you have been assigned an application that may give rise to a conflict of interest, please let us know ASAP.

4) Join Facilitator Listserv: You will be added to the Facilitator listserv where you can communicate with other Facilitators so you can share questions and experiences.

5) Read Your Application: Two to three weeks prior to the opening of public review for a given patent application, you will be notified by the Peer-to-Patent project team and asked to read and review the application thoroughly. You will be sent instructions for posting your Facilitator’s introduction on the patent application home page.

6) Read the Site Once a Day: Check the Peer-to-Patent Web site daily for discussion on your patent application. You can subscribe to the “feed” for this application so you will be notified of new postings, making it easy for you to keep up to date.

7) Update the Site Once a Week: Write a welcome message and then update it regularly. We will add a standard disclaimer indicating that your updates reflect your opinions and not those of the inventor, the USPTO, or the Peer-to- Patent project team.

8) Flag Inappropriate Content: Review the discussion area of the site and flag any content that is spam, abuse, or noise. Notify us of any problematic or disruptive activity at support@www.peertopatent.org.

9) Build Community!: Communicate with subscribers to this application on a regular basis. Encourage people to invite knowledgeable participants. Answer or refer questions to be answered. Participate in the discussion. Encourage people who are helpful. Explain to people what it means to participate well.
If at any point, you are unable to fulfill your commitment to facilitate this open review process, please let us know immediately.

At the end of your Facilitator tenure, you will be sent a commemorative award from the Peer-to-Patent Program and the USPTO.

For more information about the Peer-to-Patent program, please visit: http://dotank.nyls.edu/communitypatent.

Thank you!