Some of the biggest players in the technology industry complain that the U.S. patent system is broken--putting too many patents of dubious merit in the hands of people who can use them to drag companies and other inventors to court. And that, in turn, raises software costs and adds uncertainty for schools and consumers.


Now, an experimental program launched in June 2007 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and backed by the technology industry aims to give the public more of a voice in the system.


The concept behind the program, called Peer-to-Patent, is straightforward: Publish patent applications on the internet

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