Patent attorney Peter K. Johnson and accountant Kevin N. Hermansen have started the WikiPatents web site. The current beta version of the site is based on a Wiki content management system intended to facilitate the combined brain power many people. The site includes a database of patents (currently all US Patents from 3,930,271 to over 7,000,000). Published patent
applications are currently not included, but will be in the very near
future. The site home page also sports some patent news. A tailored search with RSS feed would be a nice addition, allowing users to track specific patents, companies, industries or other areas of interest. The following excerpt from the FAQ describes their mission:

WikiPatents was established to support and invigorate the US patent
system by adding greater clarity to the public's grant of a limited
patent monopoly in exchange for the inventor's advancement of
technology. Public patent review through WikiPatents addresses many of
today’s concerns of the USPTO and intellectual property experts,
clarifying for the public the extent to which a patent has genuinely
advanced technology. WikiPatents is intended to be the crossroads at
which inventors, engineers, scientists, patent owners, competitors,
litigants, the open source community, IP attorneys, patent Examiners,
and other concerned members of the patent community openly share
relevant and valuable information about specific patents and patent
applications. For example, independent inventors can advertise offers
to license their patent. Litigants can find crucial prior art
overlooked by a patent Examiner during examination of the patent
application. Patent owners seeking to cut costs in maintaining
expensive patent portfolios can obtain valuable information regarding
the perceived validity and value of their patents. And researchers,
engineers, and scientists will be enriched by the dialog surrounding
their technologies of interest.

Like many Wikis, WikiPatents is counting on you and I to get involved and contribute to the patent process. After years of reading stories on the most obvious or seemingly trivial things receiving a patent - the Amazon "one click" button comes to mind - WikiPatents could make a real difference.

To use WikiPatents you need to have the patent number. You can use another patents web site, FreePatentsOnline to find patents and patent numbers. I will add WikiPatents to the Important Reference Web Links page under the Resources tab at the top of this web page.

Good luck to Johnson and Hermansen in their new project - keep us informed as things progress.