Is it appropriate to link to third-party invalidity contests on the Ask Patents site? For instance, I propose to link to the active contests on Patroll using the prior-art-request tag and also the tag of the particular patent under investigation.

Because Google Patents links to "Ask Patents" with the suggestion "Discuss", this is a natural place to discuss these contests. It would increase the visibility of a handful of prior art searches that are of considerable interest.

The contest submission requires a detailed claim analysis, in addition to uncovering prior art documents not previously considered. Writing a good claim analysis takes considerable effort, and is unlikely to be posted publicly in a discussion forum. However, it might interfere with the contest itself, because if more people are aware of the prior art more people may submit contest entries.

I'm interested in the thoughts of those with more experience on building and improving Ask Patents.

(As an aside, it is good to be posting here after so many years of lurking; one reason to be glad to be free of contractual obligations at present.)

1 Answer 1


The google "discuss" link has been talked about before in meta. I think it is not good because it implies this is for discussion - like all stack exchange sites it is not a discussion site. A link from google patents is seen by many to be a way to attract people to the site. I disagree. The links remains either from inertia and benign neglect by SE staff or becasue someone likes it.

Addressing your question more directly, I think it is fine if your post it, as has been done already, as an actual question.

  • It's my understanding that this site was intended as a forum to publicly discuss prior art related to both issued patents and pending patent applications. Although the general public has other topics of discussion. As a USPTO Examiner, I checked Google Patents, including this discussion site, prior to determining allowability. It was never particularly helpful to me, but I can see how it could be helpful. Jun 26, 2020 at 11:12
  • All stack exchange sites are intended to be Question -> Answer. The original idea was to use the vast knowledge of the programmers on SE to surface software prior art that might not be in the usual places. It was started by the former director Kapos (a great director in my opinion) proposing it to SE management. Soliciting prior art and attempting to "stop bad patents" was the primary activity at first. Now prior art requests are very rare. The scope can be changed by the users (I'm told) but the Q -> A format is the key DNA of the whole SE endeavor.
    – George White Mod
    Jun 26, 2020 at 20:53
  • 1
    Rewriting a set of patent claims - or the main inventive concept of a patent application - into questions that software engineers can answer is difficult. Jun 27, 2020 at 16:52

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