coondoggie writes "Looking to address critics, the US Patent and Trademark Office this week is starting a program to speed up and improve the review of computer hardware and software technologies. The agency is set to launch a peer-review pilot project that will give technical experts in computer technology, for the first time, the opportunity to submit technical reports relevant to the claims of a published patent application before an examiner reviews it. The idea is to get as much knowledge about a particular claim in front of an examiner as quickly as possible so they can make a decision faster, the agency said. IBM, Microsoft, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, CA, and Red Hat have already agreed to review some software patent applications for the one-year community review project. Intel, Sun, Oracle, Yahoo, and others are also part of the project. The pilot is a joint initiative with the Community Patent Review Project, organized by the New York Law School's Institute for Information and Policy.