Wednesday, January 03, 2007

ExxonMobil accused of misrepresenting scientific studies, cherry picking facts; but what of law profs?

The AP reported on Jan. 3: ExxonMobil Corp. gave $16 million to 43 ideological groups between 1998 and 2005 in a coordinated effort to mislead the public by discrediting the science behind global warming, the Union of Concerned Scientists asserted Jan. 3, 2007.

The AP also noted: Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists' strategy and policy director, said in a teleconference that ExxonMobil based its tactics on those of tobacco companies, spreading uncertainty by misrepresenting peer-reviewed scientific studies or cherry-picking facts.

IPBiz notes it is big news when a large company such as Exxon is accused of slanting facts to support its position.

However, think about some of the "facts" in the patent reform debate.

Recall a post on IPBiz in December 2005:

In "Application of the Government License Defense to Federally
Funded Nanotechnology Research: The Case for a Limited Patent Compulsory
Licensing Regime," 53 UCLA L. Rev. 279 (Oct. 2005), we have the text:

As described in the introduction of this Comment, the rate of
nanotechnology patent applications and patent issuances is increasing. The USPTO patent grant rate for the entire pool of applications is approximately 52 percent per year, and the likelihood of a single, diligently prosecuted patent being granted over the course of the years it is reviewed at the USPTO may be as high as 97 percent (taking into account continuing patent applications). n45

n45. In 2003, the USPTO granted 173,072 of the 333,452 utility,
plant, and reissue patent applications it received for an approval rate of approximately 52 percent. See U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Fiscal Year 2003, supra note 14. For discussion of the 97 percent grant rate, see Note, Estopping the Madness at the PTO: Improving Patent Administration Through Prosecution History Estoppel,
116 Harv. L. Rev. 2164, 2165 (2003) (citing Cecil D. Quillen, Jr. &
Ogden H. Webster, Continuing Patent Applications and Performance of the U.S. Patent Trademark Office, 11 Fed. Cir. B.J. 1, 12-13 (2001-2002)).

**One notes that the 97% number of Quillen and Webster had been modified by Quillen and Webster before the 2003 "Estopping the Madness at the PTO" Note and long before the 2005 UCLA paper. The UCLA paper does not cite the second Quillen/Webster paper, the Clarke paper, or my three papers. It cites the Harvard note as the primary reference, even though the Harvard note does not support the proposition, and the Quillen/Webster article certainly does not support the proposition.

IPBiz notes there never has been anything to discuss as "the 97 percent grant rate." It did NOT exist in the first paper by Quillen and Webster. It certainly did NOT exist in October 2005. But there it is in the UCLA Law Review AND in the Harvard Law Review. It is hard to distinguish this "slanting" and "cherry picking" from what Exxon is accused of doing.

One can also look

here and

Of the difference between law profs and Exxon, one IPBiz reader wrote:

The law profs on grant rate are obviously WRONG. The Exxon supported science, is not clearly wrong, data is still coming in, etc.

IPBiz apologizes to the parrots of the world for any comparison to sub-Exxon law profs. But, note 3/4 of them were asleep, and they were green and wearing masks. Nevertheless, even a parrot knows he/she can't get more seeds than are in the seed jar. Law profs haven't mastered basic thermodynamic skills, and still believe in the free lunch.


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