Saturday, September 02, 2006

More WikiPatents; more stem cells

On August 28, IPBiz had a post about WikiPatents.

On September 2, Kevin and Jessica Hermansen requested a blog post about WikiPatents, which request included the information:

Anyone can join the WikiPatents Community for free and voice concerns, praise, comments, and opinions on any issued patent. As a member, you can:

* Add prior art, and vote and comment on its relevancy and implications
* Add relevant links and other useful resources
* Promote specific patents by linking them to social news, bookmarking, and networking sites
* Comment and vote on the legal strength and technical merits of patents
* Value patents by calculating market size, market share, and reasonable royalties
* Discuss licensing options
* Add relevant information about the inventor(s) and/or owner(s) of patents
* Comment on the legal strength and technical merits of patents
* Download free patent PDFs.

WikiPatents has exciting plans beyond its initial "beta launch" to improve and expand the site into a thriving community of public commentary on patents and pending patent applications. Please support the site's launch by adding your comments to a patent of interest. More information about the is available by viewing the site's FAQs.

While mentioning WikiPatents, IPBiz notes one potential problem: the lay public may not understand what prior art is, as the Sacramento Bee recently demonstrated in the ACT stem cell matter. Separately, there is sometimes "mass amnesia" when certain problems develop over the way science is reported in the media, which may impact the way the lay public perceives certain technology.

One area of recent note in which amnesia has developed is in the way the ACT science was reported. Californiastemcellreport.blogspot observed on Sept. 1, 2006:

Interestingly, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and The Sacramento Bee apparently have not yet carried stories on the hooha about the handling of the ACT experiment.

Included within the ambit of "hooha" is the reality that the two single cells (blatomeres) of ACT that turned into stem cell lines grew up in the presence of other cells, not alone.

In a different example of problems identifying "prior art" in the stem cell context, one notes the "hooha" about how Gerald Schatten stole Hwang Woo-Suk's ideas, including the extrusion method. Schatten's Feb. 06 cip actually cites a paper by Hwang on the subject, not exactly a theft or plagiarism (even by the standards in place at Princeton University in 1982). Understanding the impact of prior work on patent claims is not exactly a job for the lay public.

IPBiz notes that the New York Times did discuss the matter of the Nature press release on the ACT stem cell work in an article by Nicholas Wade published on 2 Sept 06.


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