Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Spinning in action: Yamanaka funding and CIRM

Of a discussion on IPBiz on factual inaccuracies in text on californiastemcellreport:

"Now that grant money is flowing, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) reports it has wooed more than two dozen of the world’s top stem-cell scientists, including Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka, who lead the most recent skin-cell discoveries at the University of Kyoto. Yamanaka accepted a state grant in August 2007 and began working part-time in San Francisco to avoid stem-cell restrictions in Japan." [IPBiz: Yamanaka did not accept a CIRM grant in August 2007, and Yamanaka was wooed to California by Gladstone with $1.5 million from Whittier.]

one IPBiz reader wrote:

Sounds like just the sort of issue, why CA should not have voted for CIRM, nor Prop 71.

Of Don C. Reed's euphemistic description of indirect benefits (which opened up a new ethical issue), the same reader wrote:

But who will be the enforcer, who will ensure that Yamanaka does not use CIRM $$? (...) In a way, this Yamanaka issue is akin to universities being concerned about profs having outside businesses, conflicts of interest, etc......but I think CIRM does not want to worry about such details.

IPBiz notes CIRM does not want to talk about this, californiastemcellreport does not want to talk about this, and even Don C. Reed does not want to talk about this.

Of Reed's talk about indirect benefits, IPBiz had written:

Although californiastemcellreport, in including text of Yamanaka accepting a CIRM grant in August 2007 explicitly is talking about a DIRECT benefit, Mr. Reed now talks about "indirect" benefits. California taxpayers ought to pay a great deal of attention to this distinction. It may well be that Dr. Yamanaka is benefitting INDIRECTLY from CIRM. More importantly, it may well be that Gladstone and/or Yamanaka are retaining intellectual property rights to the inventions which may INDIRECTLY benefit from California money. In this view, California taxpayers pay for facilities which help other entities obtain intellectual property rights. This is sort of a "taxation without representation" theme.

Likely far worse than anything seen in "Fantasyland," one has a rather perverse spinning of reality:

#1. A claim that CIRM lured Yamanaka to California, when the truth is that Yamanaka did NOT accept a CIRM grant, and is getting his "direct" funding from OTHER THAN CIRM.

#2. An ignoring of the fact that Gladstone SPECIFICALLY DID NOT WANT Yamanaka to take CIRM money, EXPLICITLY BECAUSE OF CONCERNS about CIRM's IP policy.

#3. A new "front" opened up, suggesting "indirect" benefits. However, a different way of looking at this is that researchers, under NO OBLIGATION TO THE TAXPAYERS OF California for intellectual property, will in fact benefit "indirectly" from Proposition 71 funds.


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