Eli Review was invented at the Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) Research Center at Michigan State University long before the app was a commercial entity. As with all university intellectual property, Eli went through an intensive invention disclosure process, which itself involves an extensive amount of writing, before MSU decided whether or not it would pursue a patent based on our work.
MSU eventually decided to pursue two patents from the intellectual property we’d developed while working on Eli Review:
- US Patent Application 61313106, “Social Writing Application Platform,” W. Hart-Davidson, M. McLeod, J. Grabill. Filed March 11, 2010.
- US Patent Application 61313108, “Systems and Methods for Tracking and Evaluating Review Tasks,” W. Hart-Davidson, M. McLeod, J. Grabill. Filed March 11, 2010.
Bill Hart-Davidson and I worked particularly closely with Greg Stark, the MSU patent attorney, to prepare content that he would eventually use to create the complete patent applications. Bill and I worked very closely together on the narrative description of the inventions while I did most of the work preparing the art – workflow diagrams, database schema, and wireframes.
The review of these patents lasted seven frustrating years before ultimately failing to secure a patent. However, they exist forever as part of the US Patent and Trademark Office historical record, and widely available on Google Patents, which gives a sense of longevity to our work and still affords us some precedent on our inventions.