Big brands such as Nike and Best Buy have already been involved in initiatives such as GreenXchange, a tool to help them share and research environmentally-friendly product design and patents. Harnessing the power of the crowds, CrowdIPR aims to make a similar service available to everyone.
Businesses or entrepreneurs who have come up with a new idea or product can sign up to CrowdIPR and post the details of their projects on the site. Other users can then provide information about similar products that already exist, in the form of patent documents or academic research. Each reply can be commented on and rated, with the researchers providing the most relevant references and users giving the most valuable feedback being rewarded with ‘karma’ points or cash.