Wired: BountyQuest: Cashing In on Bogus Patents

“Last February, publisher Tim O’Reilly lambasted Amazon’s
controversial 1-Click Shopping patent as a blatant example of the
sort of overly broad, ill-considered patent that could ultimately
stifle innovation on the Web. … O’Reilly subsequently posted a
nasty open letter to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos — replete with the
electronic “signatures” of 10,000 angry Net users — demanding that
Bezos renounce his new patent. Bezos didn’t.”

“But on Wednesday, O’Reilly and Bezos officially went into
business together — the patent-reform business, no less. The
erstwhile adversaries are jointly funding a new site called
BountyQuest, which will, among other things, pay big cash rewards
to people who dig up “prior art” — pre-existing technology — that
helps debunk controversial patents.”

“One of the first bounties, offered by O’Reilly himself: $10,000
to anyone who can find prior art that torpedoes Amazon’s cherished
1-Click claim. “Jeff is aware of the bounty and is supportive of
the idea,” said O’Reilly. “If he believes in the patent, and if
he’s an honest guy — as I think he is — then he wants to be sure
it’s a good patent.”


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