The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's promotion of progress and innovation may soon serve it well in an unexpected manner, as a new competition encourages participants to develop new software that will make patent searches more efficient.
TopCoder, an open innovation community of more than 40,000 digital creators, has co-sponsored the contest with the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation, an organization dedicated to improving public-sector operations through open source and widely distributed methodologies. Participants have been tasked with creating a new algorithm capable of identifying and locating highly specific elements within millions of documents managed by the USPTO.
The top five design teams will split their share of a $10,000 reward purse.
"To achieve a performance gain of over 70 percent for a relative drop in a very large bucket of cost and effort is a very rewarding experience for TopCoder," explained chief operating officer Rob Hughes. "The COECI is creating an open pool of algorithmic and other digital solutions generated by the public which have the potential for reuse and impact across many departments and agencies."
The next phase of the competition will involve synthesizing and integrating the best-in-class solutions, as the entries are expected to approach the objective from a variety of angles, ranging from speech recognition technology to image analysis.