EFF patent lawyer rates lawyer-rating patent ‘terrible’

Super Lawyers granted a patent on April 2

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted a patent to a lawyer-rating service called Super Lawyers that has some patent experts shaking their heads.


"It's a terrible patent," says Daniel Nazer, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and its exemplary Patent Busting Project. "It's a classic example of the patent office not doing a good job."

The abstract reads:

The present invention provides for a system and method of identifying excellence within a profession. In one embodiment, excellent performing candidates within a profession group are identified by creating a candidate pool from independent research and a peer nomination process. Identified candidates then obtain a score according to an independent research and objective evaluation process. Peer evaluators contribute to this score by evaluating top-scoring candidates, and a total score is compiled for each identified candidate. Candidates with scores in a top percentage of the candidates are then recognized as demonstrating excellent performance in the profession group.

Apply a few standard computing resources, and voila, you've got yourself a patent.

Why does Nazer call it terrible?

"It's not technology; it's not an invention," he says. "The idea of doing a ranking based on a survey is older than computing. ... It doesn't pass the laugh test."

Nevertheless, the Super Lawyers are "proud to announce" their new patent in a blog post.

The patent has stirred up a heated discussion at the Patently-O blog, where not everyone is as anxious to dismiss the Super Lawyers "invention" out of hand.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10