Thursday, March 29, 2007

Deja vu, all over again: patent abuse and research misconduct

Further to the 2001 article "Looking Backward," the beginning text stated:

The beginning of the decision reads: "The subject is most important; the interests involved, of great magnitude; the record phenomenally long; and the questions presented, complex." The decision continued: "During this long time the [...] art made marked advances along different lines, and when, in [...], the patent was granted, it disclosed nothing new. Others had then made the patentee’’s discovery
and had reduced it to practice in ignorance of what he had done. While he withheld his patent, the public learned from independent inventors all that it could teach. For the monopoly granted by his patent he had nothing to offer in return. The public gained absolutely nothing from his invention, whatever it was.
From the point of view of public interest it were even better that the patent had never been granted."

The patent in question is not to a business method, nor even to such a thing as BT's claim to a hyperlink. It is not a patent to Lemelson. The patent in question is US 549,160 issued in 1895 to a Rochester lawyer named George B. Selden and the decision in question is Columbia Motor Car Co. v. C. A. Duerr, 184 F. 893 (CA 2 1911), which found, among other things, that Henry Ford's cars did not fall within the scope of the patent, mainly because Ford's cars employed an engine different from that
disclosed in the '160 patent.

This 2001 text suggests that the central conjecture of Jaffe and Lerner writing in the year 2004, that patent problems have arisen in the last 20 or so years, is subject to criticism.


Separately, as an update on Brad Miller, Purdue, and bubble fusion, wibc reports:

But Congressman Brad Miller says Purdue is changing its response to his request for documents pertaining to the research, and the use of federal grant money for that research.

Miller says initially, Purdue stated it would cooperate fully with the request. But he says now is communicating through its lawyers.

Purdue has issued a statement saying it intends to comply with the congressional committee's request. But officials say they need to go through lawyers because of certain legal obligations under university policy.

IPBiz still says Miller will get the report, but it will be designated confidential.

The Purdue business involves DARPA funding. To get ahead of the curve for those of you who might be wondering-->

NSF is an Independent Agency, its appropriation comes under the Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, the Departments of State, Justice and Commerce, and Related Agencies. NSF has an Office of the IG. Congress has oversight though NSF's IG, who submits reports to Congress each year.

For those interested, the Office of Research Integrity (ORI, of HHS) publishes a newsletter. The March 2007 newsletter notes that in 2006 there were the highest number of misconduct findings and closed cases since 1996. One debarred respondent had been at two institutions, and there was a separate case number for each.

Those who suggest the Hwang fraud was "one bad apple" should take note.

Separately, IPBiz found a post on a different blog in January 2007 about BlackLight:

Blacklight tried to get some researcher friends of mine at Princeton to do some experiments for them to boost Blacklight's credibility. Gave them a free 1,000-page tome called "The Grand Unified Theory of Quantum Mechanics" as part of the buttering up - one of them who read through it and told me it was filled with bad physics. Needless to say, they did not collaborate.

Drakvil, notallwhowander and bug: Most hydrogen atoms on Earth (99.985%) have one proton and one electron. If you want to give it a name, it's usually called protium, as opposed to deuterium (1 proton, 1 neutron) or tritium (1 proton, 2 neutrons). If you could create a stable electron-proton system with lower energy, statistical mechanics (the math behind thermodynamics) says that would be the preferred state, and most hydrogen would already be there. My best guess is he must be talking about doing nuclear physics and reversing a beta-decay. If he can do it, more power to him, as long as he doesn't take any money out of my pocket for his research.

IPBiz notes that someone could say the same about those who promise TREATMENTS from embryonic stem cell research within 10 years: If you can do it, more power to you, as long as you don't take any money out of my pocket for your research. If, however, all you are really doing is creating a "research tool," be clear about that, and let's discuss it. Tricking people about the likelihood of treatments is unacceptable.


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