[EAS]Hunting Patents for Bounty

pjk peter.kindlmann at yale.edu
Mon Oct 23 03:58:37 EDT 2000

Subject:   Hunting Patents for Bounty

Some of my readers appreciated my metaphor of information
technology as a sometimes welcome lubricant, sometimes as a
corrosive solvent. This instance is somewhere in between, 
more like spot remover.  --PJK

(from NewsScan Daily, 20 October 2000)

Amid fears that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is overwhelmed
by the  demands of high-tech patent verification, Amazon CEO Jeff
Bezos and  publisher Tim O'Reilly are backing an Internet startup
that offers cash  rewards to individuals who can prove or disprove
a company's claim to a  patent. "BountyQuest empowers the
individual to participate in the patent  validation process by
harnessing the power of the Internet," says Bezos.  Companies
desiring to prove or disprove a patent claim can post their 
requests anonymously after paying a $2,500 registration fee.
Companies must  then place the bounty offered in escrow, and pay a
commission if someone is  able to supply all of the required
information and claims the bounty.  BountyQuest expects its "Bounty
Hunters" will include scientists,  engineers, professional
researchers and specialists. Over 50 bounties are  currently listed
at the site, with offered rewards totaling $324,159. Among  the
patents for which a bounty has been offered are Amazon's 1-Click 
payment system, Priceline's reverse auction search engine, and 
DoubleClick's banner ad patent. (E-Commerce Times 20 Oct 2000) 

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