The pioneer in the field was BountyQuest, founded in January 2000, with an aim to find prior art for invalidating patents. Even with the financial backing and endorsement by Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos and Tim O’Reilly the project did not manage to take off. They failed to present a solid business case and it is possible that the world was not ready for such model quite yet. Soon after the launch, in 2002, the shop was closed.
All signs indicate that 2012 will be revolutionary for prior art and patent research. In addition to the two prior art crowdsourcing startups launched in 2011, there are several crowdsourcing initiatives from patent offices as well. The European Patent Office has launched a Third Party Observation service (epo.org/searching/free/observations.html) and a similar solution is being prepared by the World Intellectual Property Office.
Founded in 2010, the industry website, Crowdsourcing.org, is a neutral organization dedicated solely
to crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. As one of the most influential and credible authorities in the crowdsourcing space,
Crowdsourcing.org is recognized worldwide for its intellectual capital, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding
practice expertise and unbiased thought leadership.