I came across a blog post that reviews a book authored by crowdsourcing blogger Jeff Howe. The blogger, Steve Keifer, summarizes what Howe's book describes as four variants of crowdsourcing:
In the final chapter of the book, Howe describes the four primary types of crowdsourcing – 1) Crowd Wisdom; 2) Crowd Creation; 3) Crowd Voting and 4) Crowd Funding, each of which I have outlined in more detail below.
How can crowdsourcing be applied to patent litigation? The application of the type of crowdsourcing would likely be dependent on the usefulness of the method to a defendant or plaintiff.
The first two types are probably the most applicable to a defendant. For invalidity contentions - "crowd wisdom" fits well as it relates to prior art analysis and "crowd creation" makes sense as it relates to prior art searching.
For "crowd voting" and "crowd funding," each of these may work for both plaintiffs and defendants. As to defendants, non-related industries could target, via voting, particularly troublesome patents to pursue. In a reexamination context, crowd funding could enable non-related industries to pool resources for a large scale reexamination effort. On the plaintiff side, crowd funding could be used as a mechanism to fund large scale infringement pursuits.
In the next post I'll try to explain how we see our software platform positioned in the crowdsourcing space, particularly in the prior art analysis context.