Andy Oram over at O'Reilly Media penned an interesting article, titled "Peer-to-Patent and Article One Drag the Reclusive Patent Onto the Thoroughfare," which compares and contrasts various peer review models for the patent process. The article focuses on the recent efforts of Article One and Peer-to-Patent to challenge issued patents. From the article:
[Article One] received 650 submissions of potential prior art during their first eight weeks, whereas Peer-to-Patent has received 270 during its first 18 months. And even though Article One has no sales force, several companies initiated contacts with it to sponsor studies. Since the days of Bounty Quest, the power of crowdsourcing has powerfully demonstrated itself.
Read the full article here (link)
While peer review appears to be a viable model in theory, certain issues will need to be addressed (e.g., inequitable conduct, litigants issuing subpoenas to get prior art "for free")before these models gain traction in the general patent community.