The Community Patent Review (a phase of the better-known Peer to Patent project) is seeking to hire a top-notch Ruby on Rails programmer.
This is not an ordinary job posting; it’s a chance to get paid for public service. The project is developing software for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and is being closely watched in the UK too. It implements a process to let experts in multiple fields to submit prior art and other information related to patents.
This project has the potential to alleviate some of the problems universally recognized with patents (particularly patents that should have rejected because of prior art) and can serve as a model for other projects that open up government to the public.
Among the companies that have already agreed to submit patents for this process are IBM, Microsoft, Computer Associates, and General Electric.
In addition to being high-profile (and potentially even historic), this project is challenging for the programmers because they have to be able to respond to complex human processes that are being researched as they go along. Deadlines are also tight: the first phase has to be ready for testing by early April. This is a long-term position, though; funding is expected to continue for further phases indefinitely into the future.
I think this is a tremendous opportunity for someone with solid Rails experience who wants an exciting task with a positive social impact, as well as something to put on a resume that will be recognized by the public for years to come.
The creator and coordinator of the project is Beth Simone Noveck, a New York Law School professor. If you’re interested, please reach her at bnoveck (at domain) nyls.edu.