Article One Partners, "a global community that rewards members for discovering patent validity evidence to legitimize US patents", has announced that they have turned up prior-art that may (or may not) be useful in overturning the Worlds.com US Patent 7,181,690.

It's difficult to judge on its merits. Article One receives revenue by on-selling that information to interested parties. We're not sure how much for, but the prize paid for locating the information is US$50,000, so we're expecting that the cost of seeing the inforomation is considerably more than that.

Article One's phrasing is as cautious as you might expect:

"Importantly, only a U.S. federal court or the U.S. Patent Office can invalidate a U.S. patent. While Article One's research is validated by actions such as this past week's grant by the U.S. Patent Office of the request for re-exam of Merck's Singulair drug (filed by Article One Partners in March), Article One is announcing only its own conclusion based on its analysis of the prior art for purposes of determining winners to its Patent Studies. A court or the Patent Office may disagree with Article One's conclusion."

And of course, they're right. The existence of prior-art alone is not sufficient grounds to invalidate a US patent claim. As yet, any suggestions that this weakens the Worlds.com '690 patent are premature.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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