I see Article One Partners has a research study for US5491834. Why would anyone post prior art at Ask Patents for granted patents?

  • Are you asking why would someone do something for no reward when they could do the same thing for a reward?
    – George White Mod
    Mar 12, 2013 at 20:40
  • Yes. I may be missing the point of the prior art tag on askPatents.
    – user1342
    Mar 12, 2013 at 21:11
  • I think the driving force behind this was to engage a software knowledgeable audience to collectively identify documents that might be good prior art to be submitted in pending cases under the AIA 3rd party submittal procedure. However it is not the sole purpose of the site and people may want to identify and tag things that might be used to invalidate issued patents.Presumably someone involved in a suit might stumble across something useful here.
    – George White Mod
    Mar 12, 2013 at 21:18
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    Since this is largely about the purpose and operation of the site, I am going to move this to meta. Mar 13, 2013 at 17:15
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    A lot of people are genuinely eager to help improve this system for nothing (or because they think doing so is good for them or their industry.) Most patents aren't on Article One, and my understanding is that (as you reference) there are none there pre-issue. So if you want to help improve the quality of most patents, especially before too-broad patents get issued, they're not really an option. Not to turn the question around, but why would anyone post a bounty there without first trying to solicit help for free here.
    – Jaydles
    Mar 18, 2013 at 20:40

2 Answers 2


That's easy. Because you are not comfortable with the Researcher Agreement that you would have to sign when you register at Article One Partners and instead prefer to publish your findings under a Creative Commons license here.

I suggest you check the paragraphs titled "Confidentiality" and "Non-Disclosure Requirements" in the Researcher Agreement.

The "Confidentiality" provisions basically designate all information provided by Article One or its clients to be confidential regardless of whether such information is explicitly marked "Confidential" or "Proprietary". Vice versa the "Confidentiality" provisions also put the work that you provide in relation to a prior art request under an exclusive license to Article One.

The confidentiality of Studies posted on our Site and the work that you may provide in relation to a Study (together Study Material) is of paramount importance to us and to our clients.

The "Non-Disclosure Requirements" command you not to disclose the fact that you are working for "Article One". The provisions also state that any material produced by you relating to your work for Article One will be the exclusive property of Article One.

you will not, without our prior written consent, disclose to anyone that you are performing or considering performing work for a Study or any other non-public information regarding a Study or any activity on our Site.

I'd summerize the differences between Ask Patents and Article One as follows:

  • If you want to work as a free researcher, publish your work at Ask Patents.
  • If you want to be employed and work under strict confidentility and non-disclosure regulations, get a job at Article One.

This site is not about pre-issuance searches. See the others questions on the topic. It is only concerned with invalidating issued patents. You have a legitimate point, why give away a free search? Probably explains the utter dearth of responses to calls for prior art. Most appear to be nothing than so someone using google patent's prior art feature.

The concept that the site makes the examination process better means it has to deal with pre-issuance inventions. That takes away from work though for people who want to get paid to file bad applications.

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    To the contrary, this site was created originally to solicit prior art for published but not yet examined US applications. The provisions of the AIA provide a window for free 3rd party submissions. See FAQs
    – George White Mod
    Mar 19, 2013 at 4:16

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