KingAdrock writes to tell us Sciencemag is reporting that the US Patent and Trademark office (PTO) is floating the idea of an online pilot program to gather public input on patent applications
. From the article: "Speaking last week at an open forum, officials said that tapping into the expertise of outside scientists, lawyers, and laypeople would improve the quality of patents -- and might also reduce a backlog that this month topped 1 million applications. "Instead of one examiner, what if you have thousands of examiners reading an application?" says Beth Simone Noveck of New York University Law School, who is an independent advocate of the idea."