Salon: Who ya gonna call? Patent busters! — a.k.a. BountyQuest

“Charles Cella used to help start-ups like ARTISTdirect apply
for Internet business method patents. Now the attorney-turned-CEO
plans to make money busting them. Why the change of heart? “Because
there are a lot of bad patents out there, and there are a lot of
valid patents too,” he says. “What needs fixing is the system of
‘prior art.'”

“Prior art,” says Cella, referring to a legal term used to
describe inventions that invalidate patents by proving that they
aren’t new ideas, “is just too hard to find.” Which is where
BountyQuest, Cella’s new company, comes in. Launched on
Wednesday, BountyQuest aims to quell the raging debate over the
validity of Internet business method patents by becoming a one-stop
shop for prior art information exchange.”

“Cella considers BountyQuest to be not just a potentially
profitable business, but also a market-based example of reform.
Jeff Bezos and computer book publisher Tim O’Reilly, two prominent
Internet players who have fought with each other about the patent
system, are serving as corporate advisors to the new Web site. Both
men are also investors. (Bezos has contributed more than $1


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