Monday, March 31, 2008

Investors flee Merck after Vytorin report in NJEM

See the Forbes report: Vytorin Makes Merck And Schering Swoon.

Things "other than" adverse patent results can affect the price of drug stocks.

Plagiarism code itself plagiarized?

The AP report begins: University of Texas at San Antonio [UTSA] students wanted to draft an honor code that discouraged cheating and plagiarizing. Unfortunately, it appears they copied another school's code without proper attribution.

The story included: Materials from [a five year old] conference, which are used by many universities, were probably the main source of UTSA's code, Thusu said. That's why parts of the UTSA draft match word-for-word the online version of Brigham Young University's code. BYU credited the Center for Academic Integrity, but UTSA didn't.

[information from AP through San Antonio Express-News}

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lechleiter, new CEO of Lilly

BusinessWeek has a piece on John Lechleiter, who takes over as CEO of Lilly on 1 April 2008.

Lechleiter moved up through Lilly quickly:

Lechleiter received a bachelor of science degree summa cum laude in chemistry from Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio) in 1975. He studied organic chemistry as a National Science Foundation Fellow at Harvard University, where he received his master’s and doctorate degrees. Joining Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development, Lechleiter became head of that department in 1982. In 1984, he began serving as director of pharmaceutical product development for the Lilly Research Centre Limited in Windlesham, England.

Democracy at its finest?

From a report by GROMER JEFFERS of The Dallas Morning News on the Democratic primary in Texas:

[Obama] can win more overall delegates in Texas even though Mrs. Clinton won the initial primary vote, as Mr. Obama's campaign claimed in a triumphant statement late Saturday.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie described the scene as "democracy at its finest."

Two ingredients?

IPBiz noted the following description of a "two ingredient" recipe on Hungry Girl:

One box devil's food cake mix (about 18 ounces)
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin

Sadly, this "advance" reminds one of a lot of the "innovation" in the IT industry.

In terms of an anticipation of "Hungry Girl", note Allie on pinchmysalt:

Ok, so it isn’t exactly homemade, but my mother has made some amazing pumpkin chocolate muffins for years just using devils food mix and pumpkin. Nothing else, just the box with pumpkin, don’t add the oil or the eggs or anything, but cook it according to the box.
Super-moist, super-chocolatey, and super-low in calories.
2:16 am Nov 6th, 2007

In terms of other "prior art" to Hungry Girl, note for example Steph2003'sTriple Chunk Pumpkin Brownies:

1/2 can pumpkin (not the pie filling) about 1.75 cups

1 Box Betty Crocker Triple Chunk Brownie Mix

Of the IT industry, IPBiz notes that a lot of their problems stem from a pronounced failure to write things down.

See for example, Lawrence B. Ebert, "Patent Reform 2005: Sound and Fury Signifying What?", New Jersey Law Journal, July 18, 2005 (available LEXIS).

**Update. 27 Dec 09

Relevant to "America's Test Kitchen" on NJ Channel 52 on Dec. 27, from wikipedia:

Cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) is an acidic salt that can be used to change the pH of the egg white to an acidic range by boosting the number of free-floating hydrogen ions in the egg white. This has the effect of stabilizing the foam, and is therefore an alternative to using a copper bowl. 1/8 teaspoon/0.5g cream of tartar should be used per one egg white to create this effect. 1/2 teaspoon/2ml of lemon juice can also be used to create the same results.


Although egg whites are prized as a source of low-fat, high-protein nutrition, a small number of people cannot eat them. Egg allergy is more common among infants than adults, and most children will outgrow it by the age of five.

More grist on cell phone danger

An article in The Independent begins:

Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take "immediate steps" to reduce exposure to their radiation.

The study, by Dr Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet published of the health risks.

Khurana put his results up on a website, and but has not published a peer-reviewed article:

Professor Khurana – a top neurosurgeon who has received 14 awards over the past 16 years, has published more than three dozen scientific papers – reviewed more than 100 studies on the effects of mobile phones. He has put the results on a brain surgery website, and a paper based on the research is currently being peer-reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.

This sleight-of-hand evokes the discussion of Mike at TechDirt on Bessen's work. In the end, contrary to Mike's allegations, it was NOT published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Of peer review itself, one recalls that Kim's MAGIC work was peer-reviewed, and published, by the journal Science, and, in the end, there was NO EVIDENCE to back it up.

Labels (trademarks) on CBS

CBS Sunday Morning on 30 March 08 led off with a piece on "labels," which included trademark issues, without ever mentioning the word "trademark." The piece remarked that the color red was "owned" by two companies, Coca-Cola and Campbell's.
There was background on the FDA, including the statutes of 1906, 1966 (Fair Packaging and Labeling Act), and 1994 (nutritional labeling). The piece included the concepts of healthy, natural and organic. It delved into the flap over Aunt Jemima's pancakes with artificial blueberries. Michael Pollan got several plugs.

Potato chips came up, with text showing that "natural" potato chips were basically the same as "regular" potato chips, although the "naturals" cost more.

Non-final re-exam Office Action rejects claims of BlackBoard's '138 patent

Darlene Darcy of the Washington Business Journal wrote of an Office Action in the re-exam of BlackBoard's patent: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a preliminary decision Tuesday that would invalidate Blackboard Inc.'s patent on its e-learning management systems. While more accurate than John Simpson's earlier inaccurate ramblings on the re-exam
of the WARF patents, IPBiz adds some text. Keep in mind that an Office Action does NOT have the effect of invalidating claims.

There were two re-exams filed on BlackBoard's US 6,988,138: 90/008,330 and 95/000,199. On 17 March 2008, there was a decision merging the inter partes and ex parte proceedings. On 25 March 2008, a non-final Office Action was mailed to McDermott, Will and Emery in Washington, DC. The patentee gets 2 months to respond, and the third party requestor has 30 days from the date of the patentee's response to respond.

The examiner essentially adopted requestor's issue 10, an obviousness rejection over TopClass, and accepted with modification
issues 1-6.

For those interested in KSR issues, the examiner cited first to the CAFC's In re Kahn, and then to KSR. Of Kahn: Rejections on obviousness cannot be sustained by mere conclusory statements. In re Kahn, 441 F.3d 977, 988 (CAFC 2006).
One recalls that the ill-fated re-examination effort of PubPat and FTCR (now re-named "Consumer Watchdog") on the WARF patents fell apart on the conclusory nature of statements by Loring and Trounson. The statements contained no articulated reasoning with rational underpinning. The examiner in the BlackBoard matter also cited KSR on the "combination of familiar elements." 127 S. Ct. at 1749. The examiner cited LeapFrog on old idea with new technology, tho that was of course the
point of KSR itself. [See LeapFrog, 485 F.3d 1157, 1162]

See also


note a podcast at Desire2Blog

No need for patents to give incentives?

In Now there you go again, LBE wrote

Strandburg et al. [21 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 1293] have relied on the research of Bessen and Meurer to state: Empirical evidence increasingly raises questions as to the extent to which patents are needed to provide incentives for research and development. [footnote 65: See, e.g., James Bessen & Michael J. Meurer, Lessons for Patent Policy from Empirical Research on Patent Litigation, 9 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1, 6-8 (2005) (reviewing empirical evidence for the relatively small size of the "patent premium")]

One sees a similar theme in a guest post by Michael Martin on PatentHawk on 24 August 2007 titled Bifurcate the Patent System?
wherein there is text:

Some new technologies get developed without the extra incentive of patents. For these "fully-incented" technologies, the patent system can be more like a tax than a credit. In the worst case scenario, the inventor who already had incentives to develop new technology does not apply for patents, but then has to pay the other later inventors or copyists whose only incentive was patents.

Curiously, one day earlier, on 23 August 2007, Michael Martin had written on PatentHawk

Prof. Lemley never claimed that Gary Boone invented the integrated circuit. Rather Lemley claimed that the technology that in Boone's patent, titled "Single Chip Integrated Circuit Computer Architecture" was not caught up in a patent thicket in part because the Hyatt v. Boone interference proceeding went on for so long.

I'm sure it would have been more precise to call what Boone and Hyatt were fighting over something else, but it was really a research assistant's mistake rather than a substantive error by Lemley.

to which a response was made:

Michael Martin states that Prof. Lemley never claimed that Gary Boone invented the integrated circuit. For reference:

Mark A. Lemley, Patenting Nanotechnology, 58 Stan. L. Rev. 601, 611-612 (2005):

The integrated circuit was itself an improvement in the field of computing, a way of building transistors (an invention discussed above) [p. 612] directly into a computer chip by using charged silicon, a semiconductor. The invention opened up not just computing but also calculators, cell phones, and a host of other portable electronic devices. But because two different inventors working independently developed the integrated circuit at about the same time (1971), the patents were put into interference. Gary Boone was ultimately declared the winner, but not until 1999, twenty-eight years after the first patent application was filed.

Hard to believe Michael Martin on either point.

[UPDATE. IPBiz has aleady received a comment, which unfortunately accepted what Lemley (and Martin) wrote as being the truth: but I had no idea the integrated circuit was as late as 1971!. No, what Lemley wrote in the Stanford Law Review in 2005 is FALSE, and remains uncorrected by the Stanford Law Review. One can obtain some of the TRUTH of the matter from the 2005 post on IPBiz titled Noyce v. Kilby. The REAL case on integrated circuits was Noyce v. Kilby, 416 F.2d 1391, 163 U.S.P.Q. 550 (CCPA 1969), and addressed issues in the filing of the '602 application in the year 1959.

In terms of the issues of incentives, what incentive can we offer to Lemley (patent advisor to Obama) to tell the truth?

See also

Did Mark Lemley name Gary Boone as the inventor of the integrated circuit?

Of some earlier material on Bessen:

Do patents tend to harm inventors?--part 3

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Purposeful ignorance?

A BusinessWeek article on "patent troll tracker" Rick Frenkel of Cisco titled Busting a Rogue Blogger contains the text:

Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler even cited the blog as a good independent source of information while in Washington lobbying for changes to patent law that would rein in trolls, unaware he was plugging the work of a Cisco employee.

Believable? Refer to the IPBiz post
Pinocchios for intellectual property professors?

Recall that Frenkel wrote: nor was anyone up the chain above my direct manager aware that I was the author which would imply his direct manager was aware of his blogging activities.

The BusinessWeek article by Michael Orey did not mention the article The Cowardice of Anonymous Bloggers.

On the Ozymandian nature of blogs, IPBiz notes that sitemeter wasn't counting "hits" to IPBiz between about 7:15 and 11:00 this morning (29 March 08). Earlier they had failed to count for over 24 hours, and, when queried, sort of shrugged. It is after all, only a blog. [Update: nothing from sitemeter from 7am through 12 noon on March 30. Sitemeter doesn't work anymore.]

See also

In passing, IPBiz had forwarded the
IPFrontline link on Bessen/Meurer
to Professor Heald at University of Georgia. No response. [Note that Chandler, Frenkel's boss, was at Heald's symposium on Bessen/Meurer.]

One reader made the following observation on Bessen/Meurer:

Its humorous to me that the academics find any standing to say that patents are “empirically” more trouble than they are worth – I guess that makes the thousands of companies who oppose the current patent reform legislation and want to maintain a strong patent regime ignorant managers of their own corporate assets. Classic ivory tower idiocy.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Commercial embodiment plays role in CAFC obviousness reversal


Because sufficient evidence supports the jury’s verdict finding Woodstream liable
for fraudulent misrepresentation and the trial evidence provides a reasonable basis for
the jury’s attendant award of damages, we affirm. Though we defer to the jury for its
fact findings on obviousness, we ultimately conclude that, despite those findings, the
patent claims in dispute are invalid for obviousness
and thus reverse the district court’s
denial of Woodstream’s JMOL in that respect. As our decision on those issues
completely resolves this case, we decline to address the other arguments as to patent
infringement, invalidity, or unenforceability.

The decision states:

Because the patent law aspects of this case can be decided entirely on the
grounds of obviousness—notwithstanding the panoply of issues raised by the parties on
appeal—we limit our discussion to only that which is necessary.


Thus, even when the jury is given an essentially black box verdict form—that is, a form that
merely asks the jury to answer “yes” or “no” as to whether a claim is obvious, such as
was done in this case3—we presume all factual disputes were resolved in favor of the
verdict. See Jurgens v. McKasy, 927 F.2d 1552, 1557 (Fed. Cir. 1991).


Though we are fully cognizant of the hindsight bias that often plagues determinations of obviousness, Graham v. John Deere
Co., 383 U.S. 1, 36 (1966), we are also mindful that “[t]he combination of familiar
elements according to known methods is likely to be obvious when it does no more than
yield predictable results,” KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 127 S. Ct. 1727, 1739 (2007).


It is undisputed that, while the PTO was aware of the ’091 patent, it was not
aware of the public use of its commercial embodiment.


While Agrizap’s correction of inventorship disqualified the ’091 patent as a
basis for a double patenting rejection, it did not disqualify the commercial embodiment
of that patent, the Gopher Zapper, from being considered as prior art.


This is a textbook case of when the asserted claims involve a combination of
familiar elements according to known methods that does no more than yield predictable
results. KSR, 127 S. Ct. at 1739. The only difference between the Gopher Zapper and
the asserted claims, as conceded by Agrizap, is the type of switch used to complete the
circuit that triggers the generator.

[The CAFC cited Leapfrog Enterprises, Inc. v. Fisher-Price, Inc., 485 F.3d 1157, 1162 (Fed. Cir.
2007). ]

Paul Zegger was cited in footnote 3:

Paul J. Zegger et. al, The Paper Side of Jury Patent Trials: Jury Instructions,
Special Verdict Forms, and Post-Trial Motions, 910 PLI/PAT 701, 716 (2007) (“By
compelling a jury to consider factual issues individually, special verdicts and
interrogatories may improve the consistency of jury verdicts as well as the underlying
decision-making processes that produce them.”).

Legal symposium on Bessen/Meurer book on March 29

For those interested, Paul J. Heald of the University of Georgia has convened a symposium on James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer's book Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk on March 29 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Dean Rusk Hall on North Campus.

Heald stated expansively: "Patent Failure is a stunning new work of undeniable importance to anyone interested in intellectual property. This conference will explore the authors' claims that the patent system has fallen short in providing predictable legal boundaries and examine the impli-cations of those claims." [Heald has a J.D. from the University of Chicago, but must have picked up the hyperbolic tendencies elsewhere.]

And, if you guessed Mark Lemley will be there, you would be right!

For a different point of view, see the post on IPFrontline: Now There You Go Again

See also

Nanotubes at USPTO Examiners

IPBiz was underwhelmed by the banality of the posts on carbon nanotubes. This thing is going nowhere fast.

Separately, remember the October 2007 post on InformationWeek titled Patent Examiners Ready For Change After GAO Report? Not much happened in the way of change.

Remember one of the last sentences of the Oct. 2007: Improving the patent approval process is becoming paramount as IT companies like Microsoft, IBM , and Google are flooding the office with application requests. The reference of Jon Dudas to the IBM toilet queue patent in March 2008 suggests that the "flooding" by Microsoft, IBM, and Google may be with low quality, frivolous applications. The guys, like IBM, complaining about the problem are in fact the guys CAUSING the problem

Plagiarism daisy chain?

ThinkProgress has a post about how John McCain plagiarized from a speech by Admiral Timothy Ziemer, BUT the last entry is the following:

It appears that Ziemer's speech may have been plagiarized from McCain. According to the McCain campaign, the senator used these lines before Ziemer -- in 1995. We regret the error.

One thinks of Joni Mitchell:

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

IPBiz notes that the plagiarism-naming in the above is such fluff compared to some of the more serious
issues which have passed on by, like page 54 of Poshard's Ph.D. thesis.

Stay in Tessera case overturned by ITC; stock soars

Reuters reports: Tessera Technologies Inc on March 27 said the U.S. International Trade Commission has overturned an administrative judge's decision to stay a patent infringement case against Motorola Inc, Qualcomm Inc , Freescale Semiconductor Inc and others.

The AP reported: Shares of Tessera Technologies Inc. skyrocketed on the morning of March 28 after the company said the International Trade Commission overruled a judge's order to stay a wireless patent case against Motorola and others.

Pfizer patent chief arrested over child pornography

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Alan Hesketh, patent director of Pfizer Inc., at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Wednesday, March 26. British citizen Alan Hesketh is accused of posing as a 28-year-old woman while trading hundreds of images of children engaged in sex acts.

[from AP report of 28 March 08.]

The LawBlog at WSJ picked up the story:

[Hesketh] was then presented in U.S. District Court in Hartford on Thursday, March 27. Judge Donna F. Martinez scheduled a bond hearing for Monday.

If Hesketh is indicted and convicted, he reportedly faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years for receiving and distributing child pornography and a maximum of 10 years for possession of child porn. He also faces as much as $500,000 in fines.


Silobreaker reported: Hesketh is being held at Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., after a U.S. magistrate judge in U.S. District Court in Hartford ruled Monday at a pretrial detention hearing that he was at risk of fleeing the country and could pose a danger to the public. (...)

Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Slater described Hesketh as a well-respected Pfizer executive with four grown children in England, a wife of 39 years, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. For the past five years, that same man, she said, had been living another life online as a 28-year-old female named “Suzibibaby,” who traded, discussed and gained pleasure from images of infants and children engaged in sexual acts, some involving feces.

“He spoke almost as if he was Suzibibaby,” Slater said of Hesketh’s conversations with authorities, after he was arrested. “He said, ‘Suzi’s a good girl. Suzi doesn’t cause any trouble.’

IPBiz notes that Pfizer for years would not even interview candidates as patent attorneys who did not have
a Ph.D. in "organic chemistry."

Abraham Lincoln as patent litigator

There has been much discussion about Abraham Lincoln's patent, and of Lincoln's "fire of genius" speech, but less is said about his forays into patent litigation.

Lincoln had brief exposure in defending one John Manny against the McCormick reaper patent:

In 1855 Abraham Lincoln went to Cincinnati to act as co-counsel for John H. Manny. The other Manny Company attorneys – Peter H. Watson, George W. Harding and Edwin M. Stanton – froze him out of their work in the McCormick-Manny patent infringement case. (...) Historian Francis P. Weisenburger wrote: “Stanton was far from impressed by Lincoln’s personal appearance and has been credited with extremely biting comments regarding it....During the Cincinnati sojourn Lincoln stayed at the home of Judge and Mrs. William M. Dickson, the latter a cousin of Mary Todd LIncoln, and he visited many places of interest in the vicinity. Judge [John] McLean entertained at dinner for the counsel for both sides at his home at Clifton, near Cincinnati, but Lincoln apparently was not deemed important enough to merit an invitation.

Separately, note text at UTexas

In this essay of roughly 1250 words (i.e., five (5) traditional pages), you will evaluate an essay on intellectual property, copyrights, patents, or a related topic in terms of the effectiveness of its rhetorical appeals. Thus the essay is both a rhetorical analysis (see Good Reasons pp. 61-83) and an evaluative argument (see Good Reasons pp. 145-58). Your evaluation will need to address rhetorical appeals (e.g., ethos, logos, and pathos) as well as issues of audience, purpose, and setting: that is, it should include both textual and contextual analysis in some way.

::: Carbone, Nick. “, a Pedagogic Placebo for Plagiarism.” Bedford/St. Martin’s TechNotes 13 June 2001.
::: Ebert, Lawrence B. “Imagine: No More Indecision in Intellectual Property Cases.” Intellectual Property Today August 2005.

The phonautograph of Scott de Martinville

JODY ROSEN, in an article in the New York Times titled, Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison, discusses the work of
Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, who recorded sounds on soot-blackened paper on April 9, 1860, using a phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually, not to play them back. Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently were able to play them back (group led by David Giovannoni, an American audio historian).

Giovannoni found recordings from 1857 and 1859 that were included by Scott in his phonautograph patent application, and which were preserved at the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle in Paris. These recordings did not yield audio playback.
However, the April 1860 phonautogram was found at the French Academy of Sciences, and was separated into 16 tracks, which Mr. Giovannoni, Mr. Feaster and Mr. Martin stitched back together, making adjustments for variations in the speed of Scott’s hand-cranked recording.

The New York Times website allows one to listen to an mp3 of the 1860 phonautogram.

[IPBiz noticed a posting on patenthawk.]

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What UPS can do for you -- sue you

The Trademark Blog has a post on a lawsuit [in SD NY] by UPS against a lawyer named Brown over, you guessed it, what can Brown do for you?

ATT CEO talks of ease of outsourcing

AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson: "We're able to do new product engineering in Bangalore as easily as we're able to do it in Austin, Texas," he said, referring to the Indian city where many international companies have "outsourced" technical and customer support workers. [IPBiz notes the typical first step is to talk about all the IT jobs in a particular state, to encourage movement on S.1145 on patent reform. Stephenson's play is step number 2.]

And, yes, IBM had a patent application on that, too. Appl.11/324958; US2007/0162321 — Outsourcing of Services, with first

A computer program product for

identifying at least a portion of a human-resource within an organization for outsourcing,

the computer program product comprising:

a storage medium readable by a processing circuit and storing instructions for execution by the processing circuit for performing a method comprising: receiving a list of a plurality of tasks being performed by a plurality of individual human resources within a given portion of an organization; grouping each of the tasks into a plurality of functional groups so that each of the functional groups represent an end result for the plurality of tasks associated therewith; receiving an amount of the individual human resources spent on each of the tasks within the functional groups; aggregating the amount of the individual human resource spent on each of the tasks to provide a total aggregate time for each of the tasks within the functional groups across the organization; and

identifying tasks based upon the total aggregate time for outsourcing to a lower cost supplier.

See previous IPBiz posts:

Patent reform and IBM's questionable patents

One cannot help but notice the curious squeeze being put on IBM patents in recent days.

On the one hand, there is Jon Dudas talking about IBM's toilet queue patent. Nate Anderson wrote:

[the patent] in many ways is symptomatic of the problems facing his office [the USPTO]. At a talk today [March 27] at the Tech Policy Summit in Hollywood, Dudas shed some light on why companies file such patents in the first place, and what his office hopes to do about it.

IBM, who Dudas only referred to as a "Fortune 10 company," is routinely at or near the top of the heap when it comes to number of US patents obtained in a given year. While companies generally want patents in order to protect intellectual property, that's not the only a reason for seeking patents. Dudas noted that Wall Street loves it when companies file patents, since patent numbers can be used as an easy proxy for innovation and R&D work. The sheer number of patents can also make it easier to strike cross-licensing agreements with other companies, as it makes a given patent portfolio look broader and stronger.

These things don't "promote innovation," as Dudas noted, but they do make increasing economic sense for many businesses. The result has been predictable; a surge in bad applications.

On the other hand, we have Bessen and Meurer and Princeton University Press talking about the "urban legend" of IBM's licensing. In a tiff with Joff Wild, one had the following.

In responding to Joff Wild of IAM, the authors [BM] wrote:

As we discuss in the book, p. 117, our estimates correspond well with IBM's actual performance. In fact, the "over $1 billion a year from licensing its patents" is an "urban legend" promoted by patent boosters; the actual figure is between $100 and $200 million and that is gross of the costs of IBM's several hundred lawyers.

Wild in turn noted:

The $1 billion of licensing revenue as an urban legend “promoted by patent boosters” claim is an extremely serious one. In effect, what Jim and Michael are saying here is that there are a lot of people who have been economical with the truth about IBM’s licensing activities from the early 1990s onwards.

IPBiz notes one has both Director Dudas and Bessen/Meurer suggesting IBM's patents are not so valuable.

***See also [One notes that Hillary Clinton changed the
story, but Lemley never did.]

IBM is not the only entity charged with patenting trivia.

An InformationWeek posting by Charles Babcock includes the text:

The best response I've seen was from Jonathan Corbet at a panel at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco last May. Corbet is a Linux kernel developer himself and executive editor of the Linux Weekly News.

"I feel I've been called a thief," he said levelly during a panel at the event, and pointed out that Microsoft was one of the companies that had patented "thousands of trivial functions ... There's no way to write a nontrivial program that can't be claimed to infringe on someone's patents."

Other open source code programmers answered the insinuation by saying, "Show us the infringed code and we will rewrite it." It's a point of pride that developers could quickly rewrite something that smacked of coming too close to a claimed Microsoft patent; volunteers would be waiting in line for the opportunity.

Dudas, IBM's toilet queue patent, and patent quality

Nate Anderson at Ars Technica on March 27 wrote: At a talk today at the Tech Policy Summit in Hollywood, Dudas shed some light on why companies file such patents in the first place, and what his office hopes to do about it.

Although not specific, Dudas was talking about IBM's US patent 6,329,919 titled System and method for providing reservations for restroom use (also to IBM but later withdrawn), which has been discussed on IPBiz. Nate Anderson didn't bring the point home, but IBM, and many of the other IT entities calling for patent reform, are the entities filing these silly applications, and sometimes getting issued patents. Many of the intellectual property reformers, who gladly talk about the Smucker peanut butter and jellly patent (now actually gone), simply will NOT talk about some of IBM's more curious patents. The Ars Technica piece didn't get into the current situation, or note that the proposed new burdens would be unlikely to change IBM's strategy. Anderson's piece is really a non-starter.

Further, Nate Anderson falls victim to the Quillen/Webster assertion that patent grant rate correlates with quality: These things don't "promote innovation," as Dudas noted, but they do make increasing economic sense for many businesses. The result has been predictable; a surge in bad applications. Over the last 40 years, the USPTO granted 62-72 percent of all patent applications, but that number has been dropping. In the first quarter of this year, only 43 percent of applications have been granted.

Anderson quotes Dudas on the likelihood of patent reform: Will the reform bill pass? Though generally unwilling to make positive predictions on legislation, Dudas does believe that the bill has more than a 50 percent chance of passing during this session of Congress, and it could come up for a vote within the next few weeks.

See also:

On 28 March 2008, Anne Broache of CNET covered the same meeting in an article titled
Patent Office chief aims to be 'technology neutral'
. Broach wrote:

"The system we've had has worked to promote technology for 200 years, and it can do that in the software industry, so long as you follow the principles that (a technology) is useful, new, and nonobvious," Dudas said during a wide-ranging interview with CNET at a technology policy conference here [Hollywood] this week.

Broach quoted Dudas: "Software, biotechnology, business methods--In the United States, the Supreme Court has consistently held that those are areas where there should be patents, and those industries have flourished." [IPBiz: What has the Supreme Court said about patenting software?]

Of business method patents: "Probably in the last three years, of all the (business method patent) applications that have come in the door, the office has said 85 percent of these are not allowable. The patent system, I believe, is working very well... We're starting to get a higher percentage of business method patents being approved, probably in the 20 percent range."

Dudas was quoted: "We want to make certain that people can't apply with a very broad patent application, which they know will get rejected. And then they get back in line, and meanwhile, they're looking out and seeing what's happening in the market. Sometimes they see that if they focused that broad claim, it could cover an existing technology... Then, (going by) the date of first filing, they can then say, 'I own that technology'... That's a very real concern. That gets more in line with concerns of troll behavior--someone who is literally watching the they can rise up out of the bridge and sue people."

Note the discussion of the "written description" requirement in JPTOS, pp. 743-746 (Sept. 2006) and see

See also United States Patent 7222820

On shaping the injunction in the Mircera matter

Patent Docs has a lengthy post on issues on an injunction in the Mircera matter: Court Still Cannot Decide on Amgen's Permanent Injunction, which concludes

There is some poetic justice in the possibility that the Supreme Court may have to address, and right soon, the consequences of eBay and its philosophical inclination to be parsimonious with regard to patent rights. In view of the Supreme Court's recent track record, however, any such thirst for justice should be strongly tempered with trepidation about how much further the Supreme Court may be willing to restrict a patentee's right to exclude.

See also:

Amgen wins certain summary judgment motions in Mircera case

Non-producer sues thirty defendants

Is the "patent troll tracker" covering this one? Columbia University Professor Emeritus Gertrude Neumark Rothschild (that's a mouthful) filed a complaint last month against around 30 companies and has asked authorities to block imports into the US of a whole host of products, including Blu-ray disc [from skynews]

The Register wrote:

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has named 30 companies it intends to investigate to see if products they import into the States are guilty of patent infringement. Among the names are such luminaries as Sony, Nokia, Toshiba, Hitachi, LG and Samsung. The technologies affected include Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD and mobile phones.


Rothschild is Howe Professor Emerita of Materials Science at New York's Columbia University, and has a long and distinguished history of research into semiconductors. She graduated in 1948, went on to gain an MA and later a PhD in Chemistry before embarking on a career with Philips. She joined the Columbia staff in 1985.

Rambus wins over Micron et al. in ND Ca

On Wednesday, March 26, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California [ND Ca] in San Jose found that Rambus did NOT violate procedures established by memory standards-setting organization Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC), as alleged by memory makers Micron Technology, Nanya Technology and Hynix Semiconductor.

The jury thus flatly contradicted opinions set forth by Professors Jaffe and Lerner in the book "Innovation and Its Discontents" published by Princeton University Press. Further, with the meltdown of Qualcomm, Jaffe and Lerner obtained the dubious
distinction of a clean sweep in praising guys who turned out to be bad (Qualcomm) and villifying guys who were vindicated (Rambus). Perhaps Jaffe and Lerner really did not know what they were doing. See also Is the Jaffe/Lerner Analysis of Patent Law Correct?

Sadly, Princeton University Press continues its "setbacks to reality" series with the book by Bessen and Meuerer.

See also
Judge Whyte on ALJ decision in Rambus

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Turnitin beats students over copyright issue in ED Va

JEFFREY R. YOUNG in Chronicle noted:

Judge Claude M. Hilton, of the U. S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. [ED Va], found that scanning the student papers for the purpose of detecting plagiarism is a "highly transformative" use that falls under the fair-use provision of copyright law. He ruled that the company "makes no use of any work's particular expressive or creative content beyond the limited use of comparison with other works," and that the new use "provides a substantial public benefit."


The decision could bode well for Google. The company has been sued by groups representing publishers and authors who argue that the company is violating their copyrights by digitizing their books without express permission. Google contends that, because its digital copies are for the purpose of providing an index, it is essentially transforming the material.

See IPBiz post:
ED Va: not a rocket docket for copyright/turnitin?

One notes that Mike at TechDirt discussed the turnitin case, and its possible relevance to the Google matter:

That becomes especially interesting given the current lawsuit concerning Google's scanning of books from various university libraries, as it may be able to note the similarities in this situation to Turnitin's. There are some differences -- and clearly, the publishers will claim that the impact on the commercial value is quite different (despite evidence to the contrary -- but this ruling is likely to help Google's position at least somewhat.

Separately -->

On possible plagiarism by the New York Times, see
NYT Argentina Story Lifted Material From Newsweek

Monday, March 24, 2008

March 14 issue of Science mentions Tae Kook Kim

Science is moving slowly on the fraud by Tae Kook Kim. In a paper "Two Papers from Korean Lab Found to lack 'scientific truth'" (319 Science 1468), Science observed:

KAIST launched the inquiry after scientists at Kim's company, CGK Co., had difficulty coaxing the technology, called magnetisim-based interaction capture (MAGIC), to work.

One co-author, Yong-Weon Yi, contacted both Science and Nature Chemical Biology, to have his name removed from BOTH papers.

Science notes that CGK raised $2.5 million from three Korean venture capitalists in 2006 [the year the Hwang fraud was exposed].

Of the value of peer review, Katrina Kelner, Science's deputy editor for biological sciences reported: "Reviewers were very enthusiastic."

In fact, CGK told reporters of eight (8) problems with MAGIC.

Tom Maniatis of Harvard, who supervised Kim's post-doc, said: "I certainly would never have expected this." Kim was later at Harvard's Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology.

And, yes, there is a patent angle. Science reports that Kim had become embroiled in a patent dispute between KAIST and CGK over rights to MAGIC. Kim had already been suspended by KAIST for bypassing the school's normal patent procedures.

Science did not mention whether the authors of the Science article disclosed their economic interest to Science at the time of submission.

[Information from Science, March 14, 2008]

Teaching how the broken system actually moves [?]

One IPBiz reader wrote:

I just got an email from Harvard stating that Prof. Lerner will be
teaching a three day seminar on protecting and montizing IP. I found it
ironic. Cost is 7,000.

Jaffe and Lerner are the co-authors of "innovation and its Discontents"
(published by Princeton University Press, the publishers of the
current book by Bessen and Meuer, "Do Patents Work?"]

The politics of plagiarism

The recent plagiarism flap in North Stonington, CT reminds us that plagiarism accusations typically arise in complex situations, and get into defenses other than those simply of "didn't plagiarize." As with the Poshard matter at SIU or the Tribe matter at Harvard, the Pukas matter at North Stonington is related to political issues.

Nevertheless, the underlying plagiarism issue typically is not complex, and merely requires comparing the "old" text to the "new" text. One commenter at theday wrote:

Asking for and independent investigation implies that the person asking believes, at least at some level, that he/she is innocent. That alone explains why Dr. Pukas has not asked for one. I have seen the entire document submitted by Dr. Pukas as well as the article written by the California educators. There does not appear to be one original word in the document submitted by Dr. Pukas and Mr. Petonito. I know many teachers and administrators in North Stonington and know any student who handed in such work would immediately be disciplined for plagiarism--no questions asked--no appeals. Dr. Pukas has to admit to plagiarism or admit there is a double standard in North Stonington. Students are asking if the teachers/administrators think Dr. Pukas did this by accident or if she knew she was plagiarizing--not one has asked if it is plagarizm because they all know it is. Dr. Pukas has spent many years in North Stonington and has many friends and allies. That's the nice thing about a small town. However, she shouldn't take advantage of them by pretending she is innocent. It is becoming apparent that Dr. Pukas has risen to a level beyond her expertise in North Stonington. She has routinely taken credit for the ideas of her staff and been allowed to do it. The teachers seem to have more evidence of plagerism in a document from the past. Dr. Pukas seems so bent on justifying Mr. Petonito's position that she will stoop to adding his name to her plagerized document to make it appear he helped prepare it. She also has a history of trying to give him credit for the work of her teachers and administrators. This too has been condoned by the BOE. While her years of service should not be dismissed lightly, she needs to realize she has been discovered and should step down. The BOE should also admit complicity in this scandal, as well as others, and also resign. No one can have any faith in Dr. Pukas or the BOE unless they do.

One might ask the Harvard Crimson about the words --I know many teachers and administrators in North Stonington and know any student who handed in such work would immediately be disciplined for plagiarism--no questions asked--no appeals. -- but the Crimson never got an answer from Harvard.

Charlie Rose turns Summers back into Harvard Prez

In March 2008, Charlie Rose has elevated Lawrence Summers to the post of current president of Harvard:

A continued discussion about the purchase of Bear Stearns with former Secretary of the Treasury and current President of Harvard University, Lawrence Summers.

For those in the real world:

from Feb. 10 2007 Boston Globe: First woman is picked to lead Harvard


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Do Patents Work?

The book by Bessen and Meurer (Do Patents Work?)had been cited in the law review literature long before its March 08 release:

Lemley [105 Mich. L. Rev. 1525 ] wrote: Jim Bessen and Mike Meurer have demonstrated that the more research and development a company does, the more likely it is to get sued for patent infringement. James Bessen & Michael Meurer, Do Patents Work? (forthcoming 2007). The most likely reason that this would be true is if inadvertent infringement is a common occurrence.

Menell [13 Mich. Telecomm. Tech. L. Rev. 487] also cites the book: Between 1984 and 2000, software patents grew from 3% of litigated patents to 22%. [See James Bessen & Michael Meurer, Do Patents Work? ch. 7 at 8 (2006) (manuscript).]

A relevant prior law review article by Bessen and Meurer [9 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1] contains the text: Academic and independent inventions possibly have disproportionately greater social value, and thus merit special attention. n55

Separately, in 1 Va. L. & Bus. Rev. 207, Cecil Quillen mentions work by Bessen:
For a quantitative assessment of software innovation following the availability of software patents, see James E. Bessen & Eric Maskin, Sequential Innovation, Patents, and Imitation, (MIT Dep't of Econ., Working Paper No. 00-01, 2000), available at (assessing software innovation following the availability of software patents); see also James E. Bessen & Robert M. Hunt, An Empirical Look at Software Patents, (Fed. Res. Bank of Phila. Working Paper No. 03-17, 2004), available at

Quillen also mentions Quillen’s papers on patent grant rate:

Studies by the Author and others tracking examination performance of the USPTO over time found that USPTO examination standards declined rapidly following the advent of the Federal Circuit and the lowered standards promulgated by it.
[See Cecil D. Quillen, Jr. & Ogden H. Webster, Continuing Patent Applications and Performance of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office--Updated, 16 FED. CIR. B.J. 635 (2006); Cecil D. Quillen, Jr., Ogden H. Webster & Richard Eichmann, Continuing Patent Applications and Performance of the U.S Patent and Trademark Office--Extended, 12 FED. CIR. B.J., 35 (2002); see also Cecil D. Quillen, Jr. & Ogden H. Webster, Continuing Patent Applications and Performance of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 11 FED. CIR. B.J. 1 (2001).]

Quillen does not mention in the Virginia article papers criticizing his work.

See also -->

Relying on the words of others

Within a brief in Illinois Computer Research v. Fish & Richardson (Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer) , one has the text:

This tactic of publishing defamatory material in a judicial pleading is grossly improper and is no less scandalous than if we were to file a pleading (which plaintiffs would never do) suggesting that Jenner & Block has frequently represented individuals accused of organized crime (see Michael S. Serrill, “The Mob Lawyer ‘Life Support’ for Crime,” Time, March 25, 1985) and, thus, necessarily has engaged in schemes and deceptions or otherwise aided criminal conduct merely by virtue of such representation.That would be absurd. And so too is Jenner’s unsupported pleading attacking the Niro firm and its senior partner for simply representing Mr. Harris and his assignees.

One has an "employer looking at employee email" issue:

The controlling case in California is People v. Jiang, 130 Cal. App. 4 th 1512 (Cal. Ct. App. 2005). There, an employee was subject to a published policy that allowed access to password-protected email. But, as the California court found, that policy did not override the attorney-client privilege. Jiang has been cited repeatedly on this exact issue: Once an employer realizes she is poking into an employee’s private communications, the law dictates she should immediately cease. This is true even if the employer issued a policy stating that company equipmentmay be monitored at any time and that the employee should have no expectation of privacy. Michael Baroni, “Feature: Employee Privacy in the High-Tech World,” 48 Orange County Lawyer 18, *22 (May 2006) (emphasis added). Fish and the Jenner firm not only didn’t stop looking at clearly privileged emails, they actually used and quoted them in the proposed amended complaint. For this further reason, leave to amend should bedenied.

An interesting aspect is that the law firm is citing third parties for the truth of their propositions.

As IPBiz has noted, law reviews and the like are known to contain errors, which remain uncorrected. A question which arises is how one truly proves things. Note the discussion with californiastemcellreport about the "supposed" CIRM grant to Shinya Yamanaka. When challenged about the accuracy of the existence of such grant, californiastemcellreport merely relied on the words of someone else.

See Semantic ramblings on the meaning of "accept"

Pinocchios for intellectual property professors?

Michael Dobbs of the Washington Posthas been covering an account by Hillary Clinton of a trip to Bosnia:

"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."
--Hillary Clinton, speech at George Washington University, March 17, 2008.

Dobbs doesn't think so:

The Pinocchio Test

Clinton's tale of landing at Tuzla airport "under sniper fire" and then running for cover is simply not credible. Photographs and video of the arrival ceremony, combined with contemporaneous news reports, tell a very different story. Four Pinocchios.

Maybe we should handing out Pinocchios to certain statements of intellectual property professors. Would Obama get a derivative Pinocchio for having Lemley as advisor? One commenter at patenthawk wrote:

There is so much hinky about Obama. From a patent perspective, him having Mark Lemley as advisor speaks volumes. If his big offset for lack of experience is judgment...

[Contrary to Lemley, Gary Boone didn't invent the integrated circuit and the inventors of the transistor did NOT think its uses were limited to hearing aids. Further, contrary to Lemley, Robert Clarke never said every continuation application resulted in a patent. In passing, Susan Haack wrote in 36 Stetson Law Review 789, 794 (footnote 29) (citing the brief of Chubin) that law review editors (actually cite checkers) check every citation and footnote [!] As Kenny Nolan sang: I like dreamin', closing my eyes and feeling fine.]

There is also a Sikahema in the Hillary business:

The First Lady's schedule, released on Wednesday [March 19] and available here, confirms that she arrived in Tuzla at 8.45 a.m. and was greeted by various dignitaries, including Emina Bicakcic, (whose name has mysteriously been redacted from the document.)

Separately, IAM has some discussion of Jon Dudas and fee diversion.


Frank Rich wrote in Hillary’s St. Patrick’s Day Massacre:

That Mrs. Clinton’s campaign kept insisting her Bosnia tale was the truth two days after The Post exposed it as utter fiction also shows the political perils of 20th-century analog arrogance in a digital age. Incredible as it seems, the professionals around Mrs. Clinton — though surely knowing her story was false — thought she could tough it out. They ignored the likelihood that a television network would broadcast the inevitable press pool video of a first lady’s foreign trip — as the CBS Evening News did on Monday night — and that this smoking gun would then become an unstoppable assault weapon once harnessed to the Web.

The Drudge Report’s link to the YouTube iteration of the CBS News piece transformed it into a cultural phenomenon reaching far beyond a third-place network news program’s nightly audience. It had more YouTube views than the inflammatory Wright sermons, more than even the promotional video of Britney Spears making her latest “comeback” on a TV sitcom. It was as this digital avalanche crashed down that Mrs. Clinton, backed into a corner, started offering the alibi of “sleep deprivation” and then tried to reignite the racial fires around Mr. Wright.

The Clinton campaign’s cluelessness about the Web has been apparent from the start, and not just in its lagging fund-raising. Witness the canned Hillary Web “chats” and “Hillcasts,” the soupy Web contest to choose a campaign song (the winner, an Air Canada advertising jingle sung by Celine Dion, was quickly dumped), and the little-watched electronic national town-hall meeting on the eve of Super Tuesday. Web surfers have rejected these stunts as the old-school infomercials they so blatantly are.

UPDATE. Crouch on the Clintons:

On Hillary Clinton-->
Those qualities do not communicate well through television for some reason. On TV, Clinton seems by turns icy, contrived, hysterical, sentimental, bitter, manipulative and self-righteous. In short, dehumanized by the mysterious dictates of technology, she takes on qualities that most people hate.

Perhaps because of the way camera lights hit the planes of her face and the tinny distortions of her voice imposed by television microphones, something apparently evil happens. Part of Richard Nixon's comeback strategy was to overcome what was done to him by the defining force of TV when he was bilked of the presidency in 1960 then humiliated by losing a run for governor of California in 1962.

Hillary Clinton has never been able to figure that one out.

IPBiz notes, unlike Al Gore, Nixon did not file a law suit over voting irregularities in Illinois and Texas. Further, the evidence
on the underlying merits of the Florida suggest Gore did lose. One will never know about Illinois and Texas in 1960.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

More on Bessen and Meurer

Mike at TechDirt mentioned Bessen and Meurer on 20 March:

As we pointed out last week, nearly all of the economic evidence shows that patents tend to do more harm than good. Researchers James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer (perfect timing again) have gone into a little more detail as to how much damage is done, but I wanted to focus on why the downsides to patents are so often worse than the upsides.

Mike addressed the disclosure theme:

Another popular claim is that patent benefit us via "disclosure." Because patents require the inventor to "disclose" the invention, the idea is that these patents will spur additional innovation as others learn from the patents and build on them. The idea is that there's obvious benefit in keeping the idea secret, so in exchange for disclosing the idea, the government gives the inventor a monopoly. However, this is easily shown to be false. First, very few patents these days are written to the point where they actually disclose enough to be useful. They tend to be broadly written in a way that can cover as much as possible. However, there's an even better simple logical rationale for why disclosure is a myth when it comes to patents. If the inventor truly believes there's tremendous value in keeping the idea secret, he or she will still keep it secret. There's no real benefit to disclosing it to get the patent. You get just as much benefit from keeping it secret. The only benefit is if you think that others will be able to figure out the same concept in less time than it takes for the patent to expire. In other words, if you realize that others will be able to come up with the same thing in that amount of time. So getting a patent prevents others from doing that. But if you truly believe that it would take longer than the length of the patent to figure out its secrets, then you'll keep it quiet anyway.

Mike doesn't mention the Chester Carlson story. Mike also doesn't mention the "plagiarize with pride" article in the Harvard Business Review.

Bessen and Meurer are quoted in a InformationWeek post about Apple being sued over the iPhone:

Bessen and Meurer claim that "in industries other than chemicals and pharmaceuticals, defense against American patent lawsuits amounts to 13% of R&D spending by defendant firms (19% in 1999). In contrast, our studies of patent value indicate that worldwide patent value amounts to only 6% of R&D spending by these same firms. The result -- patents impose a tax of at least 7% on R&D investments outside of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries."

IAM magazine contains some criticism of Bessen and Meurer:

End Software Patents gets to this amount by relying on work done by James Bessen and Michael J Meurer. This involves accepting that Bessen and Meurer are correct in assuming that 25% of all US patent litigation is software-related; and then accepting a subsequent claim by the two that the average cost to a company involved in patent litigation was $28.7 million in 1992; an amount which equates to $43 million in 2008. By multiplying the number of alleged software suits by 43 million, End Software Patents gets to $30.4 billion.

What End Software Patents fails to point out is that Bessen and Meurer make no distinction between the types of patent they are talking about. Instead, their figures relate to all patents – from software, through mechanical to pharmaceutical. Crucially, the organisation also fails to state clearly that the amounts quoted by Bessen and Meurer actually relate primarily to falls in market capitalisation when suits are announced, not to the direct costs of fighting suits or to the lasting effect such litigation has on a company’s share price or its financial performance. And at no stage do Bessen and Meurer examine any potential benefits in engaging in patent litigation, such as the maintenance of market share, the protection of product lines or the generation of licensing revenue.
So, when End Software Patents states in its revised press release that “Software patent litigation costs US companies $30.4 billion annually”, what it actually means is this: “We have taken the findings of a study that looks at the overall cost of a patent suit being inaugurated in any field of technology to extrapolate that software patent litigation costs US companies $30.4 billion every year. We have done this by accepting that if you look at the behaviour of share prices when a suit has been announced you will see a dip amounting to an average of one half of one percent of overall value. What we have not done is differentiate between various types of patent to see, for example, whether there is a difference in what happens to the share price of a pharma company that is engaged in litigation over a blockbuster drug and the share price of a large technology company that is sued by a patent troll. Furthermore, we have not reported that the median cost found by Bessen & Meurer was actually $2.7 million and we have not sought to explain why the median is so very different to the mean or to consider that the difference may actually be accounted for by the way markets react to litigation in the pharmaceutical industry, where the actual or potential loss of a patent relating to a blockbuster drug can see major falls in a company’s share price. And on top of all of that, we have decided to assume that there can be no positives in getting involved in litigation and have decided that the costs it creates are nothing more than a waste.” All of which is less snappy, obviously, but maybe a bit closer to the truth.
The bottom line is that even if you accept the findings of Bessen and Meurer without question, it is very difficult to see how you can, in good faith, get to a statement that: “Software patent litigation costs US companies $30.4 billion annually.” Bessen and Meurer do not say this and they do not provide figures that can allow anyone else to say this. What they do show is that patent litigation in the US can be very expensive, not only directly but also indirectly – which will hardly come as a surprise to anyone.

[IPBiz note: there has been further discussion of the March 2 post.]

**Separately, one can contemplate the following words, applied to the recent fraud of Kim over "magjc":

Some scientists have complained recently that top journals are rewarding novel results over rigorous research. Perhaps journals should hold higher standards for replication of data before it is accepted for publication. And we should be more mindful of the difference between optimistically embracing a new finding and rushing to accept it before the result has been tested and repeated -- in effect, fully subjected to the scientific method, slow as it may be.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Court shields peer review documents from disclosure

ScienceNow reported:

In a decision likely to be welcomed by editors everywhere, a federal judge in Chicago today [March 14] denied a drug company's efforts to obtain confidential peer-review documents from a major medical journal. Although journals have successfully fended off such requests before, a loss in this case would have set a troubling precedent for other cases, including a similar suit pending in Massachusetts.

Pfizer is being sued in a class-action lawsuit in a northern California federal court by patients who took the arthritis drugs Bextra and Celebrex, which have been linked to heart attacks and other problems. In January, Pfizer filed a motion asking for peer-review documents it had subpoenaed from 11 studies on the drugs published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Pfizer, which also wanted rejected studies, said that manuscripts might contain data that could be useful for its defense. NEJM argued that releasing the information would compromise peer review, which is supposed to be anonymous, a position supported in an affidavit by the editor-in-chief of Science, Donald Kennedy (Science, 22 February, p. 1009). Pfizer also filed a motion seeking peer reviews from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the Archives of Internal Medicine, which had published 11 studies on the drugs.

In an affidavit filed on 29 February, JAMA Editor-in-Chief Catherine DeAngelis argued that if the court granted the motion, similar subpoenas could become routine, which could result in a "severe decline" in the number of peer reviewers and affect the journal's ability "to properly discharge its mission to advance the betterment of public health."

Today, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois agreed with DeAngelis. "Although her statements are quite dramatic, it is not unreasonable to believe that compelling production of peer review documents would compromise the process," wrote Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys. The court also found that Pfizer had not adequately explained how the confidential peer reviews could help it defend itself in the lawsuit. Given the lack of relevance, the court found that "whatever probative value the subpoenaed documents and information may have is outweighed by the burden and harm that would result" to the journals.

DeAngelis was not available for comment, but a JAMA spokesperson said the journal was pleased with the judge's ruling. The U.S. District Court in Massachusetts held a hearing yesterday on NEJM's efforts to block the Pfizer subpoena. That decision could come within the next 2 weeks or so, says Paul Shaw of Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels LLP in Boston, which is representing NEJM.

Derek Lowenoted:

At least I think it does - I assume that Pfizer wants names attached to these things, unless they can use them in their case without attribution. Even so, that still doesn't sound like something that'll make people enthusiastic about reviewing such papers - the prospect of having their comments read off in open court. No, I think that argument that sank Pfizer's requests in Illinois still obtains, and that the Massachusetts court will rule the same way.

IPBiz notes that the relevancy to Pfizer is "what was said", not in "who said it." If that is so, one would hope that reviewers would NOT be reluctant to have "their comments read off in open court."

The CAFC addresses the meaning of "unmistakable disavowal"


CDSC appeals the district court’s construction of the portable computer and all
connections limitations, its grant of summary judgment on both limitations, and its denial
of CDSC’s Rule 56(f) motion. Defendants appeal the district court’s denial of the motion
for attorney fees.

As to claim construction, the CAFC cited to both Vitronics and Phillips:

The words of the claims define the scope of the patented invention. Vitronics
Corp. v. Conceptronic, Inc., 90 F.3d 1576, 1582 (Fed. Cir. 1996). “It is well-settled that,
in interpreting an asserted claim, the court should look first to the intrinsic evidence of
record, i.e., the patent itself, including the claims, the specification and, if in evidence,
the prosecution history.” Id. Claim terms are generally given their ordinary and
customary meaning, which is “the meaning that the term would have to a person of
ordinary skill in the art in question at the time of the invention.” Phillips v. AWH Corp.,
415 F.3d 1303, 1313 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) (citations omitted). However, the
person of ordinary skill is deemed to read the claim terms in the context of the entire
patent, including the specification and prosecution history. Id.

The topic of "unmistakable disavowal" came up:

Statements made during prosecution may also affect the scope of the claims.
Rexnord, 274 F.3d at 1343. Specifically, “a patentee may limit the meaning of a claim
term by making a clear and unmistakable disavowal of scope during prosecution.”
Purdue Pharma L.P. v. Endo Pharms., Inc., 438 F.3d 1123, 1136 (Fed. Cir. 2006).

The court got into the details of disavowal:

Nonetheless a disavowal, if clear and unambiguous, can lie in
a single distinction among many. See Andersen Corp. v. Fiber Composites, LLC, 474
F.3d 1361, 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2007); Norian Corp. v. Stryker Corp., 432 F.3d 1356, 1362
(Fed. Cir. 2005) (“[W]e have not allowed [patentees] to assert that claims should be
interpreted as if they had surrendered only what they had to.”). Moreover, the
examiner’s citation of the single connection limitation in the reasons for allowability does
not erase the applicants’ clear disavowal of laptops. Cf. Laitram Corp. v. Morehouse
Indus., Inc., 143 F.3d 1456, 1462 (Fed. Cir. 1998) (finding prosecution statements
relevant to claim construction although the examiner did not rely on them). Of course,
a multitude of distinctions may serve to make any single distinction in the group less
clear and unmistakable as the point of distinction over prior art and as a critical defining
point for the invention as a whole.

The topic of limitations from the preamble came up:

As a threshold matter, neither party disputes that the terms “portable computer”
and “portable computer microprocessing system,” as used in the preambles of the
asserted claims, limit their scope. “In considering whether a preamble limits a claim, the
preamble is analyzed to ascertain whether it states a necessary and defining aspect of
the invention, or is simply an introduction to the general field of the claim.” On Demand
Mach. Corp. v. Ingram Indus., 442 F.3d 1331, 1343 (Fed. Cir. 2006).

The 56(f) issue was NOT reached:

Because Defendants’ laptops and docking stations do not infringe the portable
computer limitation, this court does not reach the issues related to the all connections
limitation, including the district court’s denial of CDSC’s Rule 56(f) motion.

New Gettysburg visitor center opens 14 April 2008

A new museum and visitor center will open at Gettysburg on April 14, 2008. The cyclorama will be ready in September 2008.
AP notes:

The cyclorama, an 1884 oil painting designed to place viewers in the middle of the climactic battle, is still being restored. It is scheduled to open in late September. The massive painting was created in 14 sections comprising a 360-degree canvas that depicted Pickett's Charge, the dramatic Union Army stand against Confederate troops July 3, 1863.

See also

Was H.B. McClellan at East Cavalry Field on July 3, 1863?

Forbes pushing the Bessen/Meurer book

A March 10 piece in Forbes titled They Call This Intellectual Property? trots out the usual parade of horribles but neglects to mention the current status of things.

Thus we have the Smuckers patent, but no mention that the patent is gone:

Blame part of the pile-up on pesky filers of overly obvious patents. Remember that crustless PB&J? There's a patent for it--No. 6,004,596 to be exact (meaning some six million patents came on the books before it).

Issued in December 1999, the patent covers any peanut butter and jelly sandwich missing a crust because it had been removed with a circular cylinder with a crimped edge that supposedly locks in the peanut butter and jelly. (The language suggests putting the peanut butter on the bread and the jelly in between.) J.M. Smucker (nyse: SJM - news - people ) later bought the company of the inventors, who had branded the sandwiches "Uncrustables," and landed the patent too. When Gaylord, Mich.-based Albie's Foods began selling similar sandwiches, the jelly-maker tried to sue for patent infringement and applied for broader protection on crustless products, which a judge later denied. The USPTO is currently reexamining this one to see if it still passes the too-obvious test. (Albie's can still go crustless.)

In fact, the patent died in re-exam, but Forbes doesn't mention that.

Forbes brings up the swing patent, but doesn't mention that this one is gone:

If you don't think you can secure rights to the laws of physics, look no further than patent No. 5,413,298, which outlines a new method of "swinging." To wit: A person, positioned on a standard swing suspended by two chains from a horizontal tree branch, swings from side to side by pulling on one string and then the other. Many, many children at playgrounds have likely infringed on this one.

And Forbes mentions the book by Meurer:

One potential concern: defending patents already on the books. "Small firms have reason to worry that their patents are now invalid [because of the KSR ruling]," says Michael J. Meurer, a professor of patent law at the Boston University School of Law and author of the forthcoming book, Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats and Lawyers Put Innovation at Risk. Meurer figures that software and "business-method" patents are most likely to be challenged, whereas standards for biotech and pharmaceutical patents will largely remain unchanged.

For good measure, Forbes had ANOTHER article on March 19, titled Roadblocks To Innovation, which again advertises Meurer's book:

Michael Meurer, a professor at the Boston University School of Law, concurs that the U.S. needs patent reform. He contends, however, that neither the piecemeal decisions of the Supreme Court nor Congress' proposed fixes will lighten what he sees as the patent system's drag on innovation.

In a new book, Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk, Meurer and his co-author, Boston University law professor James Bessen, conducted the first large-scale empirical study of the costs and benefits of holding patents. Meurer and Bessen concluded that in every industry, except pharmaceuticals and biotech, publicly traded companies spend more money litigating to protect existing patents and paying fees to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office than they earn from the same patents. (Bessen and Meurer evaluated patents issued by all publicly traded companies between 1984 and 1999.)

A bit of methodology:

Next, we looked at the value as determined by the stock market. We use a statistical technique to figure out what share of the wealth or the value of a company can be attributed to its patent profits. We also looked at how the announcement of a patent lawsuit affected share prices. We used ways of estimating legal fees too.

How is the patent system limiting innovation right now?

These two techniques gave us answers that were pretty consistent. In 1984, on balance, the patent system was working, and it's been working for the pharmaceutical industry. In 1984, the patent system provided a subsidy to firms that did R&D, but things have deteriorated steadily since then. By 1999 the patent system imposed a tax on the average publicly traded firm acting as an innovator.

We made an important assumption in our research: We thought that the people bearing most of the cost defending patent lawsuits are people who have inadvertently infringed on some patent. Independent innovators get in trouble because they innovate. The very act of innovating makes you vulnerable to a patent lawsuit. It also makes it possible to get a patent.

See also

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Journal authors conflicted?

One has a law review article titled: The Duty to Disclose Patent Rights.

One recalls "patent rights" issues in the Hwang matter (see 88 JPTOS 239).

FTCR changes its name after stem cell defeat

Fresh from three stinging defeats at the USPTO in re-exams of three WARF stem cell patents, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) has changed its name to Consumer Watchdog. One notes that the word "taxpayer" got deleted, and many folks think that FTCR's ill-planned venture with the WARF patents may have COST California taxpayers a lot.

The WatchDog site has a copy of Terri Somers' article --University Retains Patents Of All Human Embryonic Stem Cells--, which, as usually the case with articles by Somers, contains many errors. For example, Somers incorrectly writes:

In April 2007, the patent office issued a preliminary ruling invalidating the patents. After that, WARF filed applications to narrow the scope of the patents to stem cells created from an embryo before implantation.

The USPTO issued an initial Office Action which did NOT have the effect of invalidating the claims of the patents. As permitted in re-examination procedures, WARF filed a response to the Office Action. At all times, the patents were in force.

The folks at the-best-posts47 blog on March 19 kindly remembered what IPBiz had written earlier:

Is Wisconsin's stem cell standing diminished?-- IPBiz answers: wait until the USPTO responds to what WARF has to say about the first Office Actions in the re-examinations of the WARF patents.

The USPTO found the references relied upon by FTCR and PubPat NOT to be enabled. They didn't teach the relevant scientist in the stem cell art how to do what Thomson did. The declarations (by Loring and others) were found by the USPTO to be conclusionary. They didn't employ scientific reasoning. They merely stated conclusions.

Of the impact of the re-exam foray, the journal Nature quoted Ken Taymor, head of the University of California’s Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy: “The re-examination has strengthened WARF’s position.”

Somers did not mention Taymor, or include discussion of anyone with Taymor's viewpoint. Somers did note:

“What the patent office accepted today were narrower, modified versions of the patents we originally challenged,” Dan Ravisher, a lawyer with the Public Patent Foundation, said Tuesday. “Therefore, what's being upheld today has a decreased chilling effect on research than the original patents.”

See also

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

NJ AG Anne Milgram goes after JuicyCampus

AP reported: JuicyCampus may be violating the state's Consumer Fraud Act by suggesting that it doesn't allow offensive material but providing no enforcement of that rule — and no way for users to report or dispute the material, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said Tuesday.[March 18]

IPBiz notes that such legal rationale might allow California's AG to go after the backers of Proposition 71, who stated many things that were not true, in order to sway voters.

Semantic ramblings on the meaning of "accept"

Comments to a 17 March 2008 post on californiastemcellreport included:

Lawrence B. Ebert said [19 March at 10:31am]
Do you consider text in a 31 Jan 08 post --Yamanaka accepted a state grant in August 2007-- accurate?

California Stem Cell Report said...[19 March at 2:09pm]
The statement concerning Yamanaka was contained in a direct quote from a piece by another writer. That writer is the one to ask about whether that is an accurate statement.

Nonetheless, our understanding is that Gladstone is using funds from CIRM to support Yamanaka. As far as we know, he has not declined to accept that support. Does that amount to "acceptance?" He could have declined the support. Some fine legal and semantic points there. Regardless, it is clear that CIRM's huge resources have made California attractive to Yamanaka and others.

IPBiz considers the discussion of "acceptance" as "failure to reject" reminiscent of Bill Clinton's ramblings on the meaning of the word "is."

Of the factual accuracy, IPBiz has previously posted:

Deepak Srivastava, GICD's director, said in a press release that
“Gladstone will provide Shinya with the resources and facilities to
apply his research to human cells.”
Yamanaka's work will not be funded by grants from Proposition 71 --
at least not inititally, according to Gladstone spokesperson Valerie Tucker --
allowing it to move forward without concern of whatever revenue-sharing
agreement is finally reached.

Leaving aside the question of whether the statement on californiastemcellreport was accurate (IPBiz
does NOT think it was accurate), one is left with the ethical implications of the statement:

The statement concerning Yamanaka was contained in a direct quote from a piece by another writer. That writer is the one to ask about whether that is an accurate statement.

If a writer relies on the accuracy of a statement that becomes challenged, the writer is responsible for checking it
out (or retracting).

Live by the slider, die by the slider.

Here, the folks in California ought to be concerned. If Yamanaka isn't being "directly" funded by CIRM, no cut of his patent royalties will be channeled back to California. If California taxpayers are content to bask in the glow that "CIRM's huge resources" helped Yamanaka get patents, royalties for which won't be going to them, that's fine.

See also

Did Yamanaka "accept a grant" from CIRM in August 2007?

On the absence of evidence that Yamanaka accepted a CIRM grant

Who are the embryonic [stem cell] cheerleaders?

Note Dick Morris on Obama and (Bill) Clinton:

If he [Obama] had not risen to the top of Chicago black politics, we would never have heard of him. But obviously, he can't say that. So what should he say?

He needs to get out of this mess with subtlety, the kind Bill Clinton should have used to escape the Monica Lewinsky scandal -- but didn't. As the controversy continues, Americans will gradually realize that Obama stuck by Wright as part of a need to get ahead. They will chalk up to pragmatism why he was so close to such a preacher. As they come to realize that Obama doesn't agree with Wright but used him to get started, they will be more forgiving.


What Obama needs not to do is to resort to the kind of Clintonian fudging that animated his interview with Keith Olbermann. By saying "I wasn't there" and "I didn't know" and "I didn't hear him say it," he will invite contempt and derision. If he were to continue in that vein, he would buy himself a controversy akin to that which drowned John Kerry in the facts and allegations of his service in Vietnam. People will surface to say, "I sat next to him, and Wright said such and such," and Obama will be hostage to everybody's subjective memory.

IPBiz notes that Obama's Philly speech already showed Obama was NOT going to engage in Clintonian fudging.

On the subject of semantic ramblings, note this from Orlando's Channel 6:

"From what I'm hearing, Universal is going to be one of the number 1 places to go," tourist Bill Koeing said.

The journal Nature refers to WARF win on stem cells as landmark ruling

In an article Stem-cell patents confirmed; Victory for Wisconsin foundation in landmark ruling. in the 17 March 08 issue, Nature observed:

An effort to overturn two contested stem-cell patents was quashed last week by the US Patent and Trademark Office, in a move that strengthens the position of the patents’ holder, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

See also

ScienceToday on WARF victories over PubPat, FTCR

On the Bessen/Meurer book

One commenter on a Bessen/Meurer post (related to their book) on Patently-O wrote:

I actually worked at a large (huge multinational) corporation. One of my jobs was to evaluate technology to decide whether to buy (license) or build. Part of the analysis was do they have IP protection.

I have also worked at and with start-ups for 25 years. The first job I had was with a software start-up in Boston. Now I am an attorney that protects IP.

Would anyone who has real experience with large corporations, IP, and start-ups take this book seriously? No. They have built a little model of the world that is not accurate and applied a silly methodolgy to get some title that will get some attention.

And, only a bunch of professors would have the time and ethics to produce a book like this.

See also

Do patents tend to harm inventors?--part 3

Poking at Fitzgerald on Bessen on patents as money losers

Patent reform movement by early April?

Dugie Standeford of Intellectual Property Watch: Legislation for sweeping patent reform in the United States could see Senate floor action as soon as early April.

Patent auction at Strathclyde University

The Evening Times noted:

Dr Matthew Carpenter, intellectual property rights manager at Strathclyde, said: "Bringing pioneering technology out of the labs and into the marketplace is a vital part of our research strategy.

Auctioning the patent could prove to be a big money spinner for Strathclyde University. The Ocean Tomo IP Auctions bring together some of the world's biggest investors.

Recall the IPBiz post:

Ocean Tomo patent auction falls flat: 50 of 54 reserve bid lots didn't get minimum bid

Patent suit against Apple over Time Machine

InformationWeek writes:

Apple last week was sued in the Eastern District of Texas for infringing on the patents of Mirror Worlds, a company that used to make desktop search and organization software.

The lawsuit claims that Apple's computers, iPods, iPhones, and Mac OS X operating system infringe on Mirror Worlds' alternative to the desktop metaphor: organizing files in a time-based stack or stream.

Users of Apple's Time Machine software in Mac OS X 10.5 or its Cover Flow view in iTunes should immediately recognize this method of interacting with computer files.

While the Eastern District of Texas is notorious in legal circles as the favored venue of patent trolls, Mirror Worlds' patents appear to have more merit than most because the ideas expressed aren't obvious, at least compared to controversial patents like Amazon's 1-Click patent. They reflect the work of Yale computer scientists Eric Freeman and David Gelernter, who in the mid-1990s recognized that the desktop metaphor has its limits and proposed to organize computer documents in a time-ordered stream. At the time, there was nothing like it.

Or was there? Though Apple did not respond to a request for comment, it may be able to argue that the HyperCard software it developed in the 1980s represents prior art, thereby invalidating some or all of Mirror World's claims. A more likely outcome, however, is a quiet settlement.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

PatentHawk flames Crouch over patent litigation analysis

Continuing an earlier theme, PatentHawk has once again flamed Patently-O:

Professor Dennis Crouch: "Over the past two decades, the number of patents being litigated has risen dramatically." Crouch then shows a graph that's clear as mud: one axis labeled "Patent Count;" the other "Year Complaint Was Filed." One has no way of knowing, either by graph or explanation, whether "patent count" represents number of complaints; or number of litigated patents total, irrespective of number of complaints. Regardless what "patent count" means, most damning is failure to normalize: to take into account the number of patents granted.

Crouch commented:

Gary, Thanks for the link. However, I do believe that my graph is fairly easy to understand -- The number of patents associated with complaints filed in a given year.

I have a problem with normalization without also providing the underlying data. In your example, the graph is designed to impart the feeling that Britian's economy is the strongest in the world. It is not.

It would seem in ONE litigation involving N patents, Crouch would add N (rather than one) to his y axis.

This all pales compared to the assumption of Quillen and Webster than no more than one patent could issue from a patent family, which assisted QW in reaching a 97% patent grant rate. See discussion in 88 JPTOS 239 and 88 JPTOS 1068.

See also

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Projecting costs in the Coskata process for making ethanol

A commenter on greentechmedia writing about the Coskata process:

Capital cost for the Coskata operation will be approximately $.60/gallon. Putting aside the obvious complexity of MSW as a feedstock (including that it must be dry and separated from metals and such to be efficiently put through a gasifier) and other so-called 'waste' and 'negative-cost' feedstock, American farmers will charge at least $40-60/ton of dry biomass, if not more when considering storage and transportation issues. So, at a minimum, capital and product feedstock will run at least a dollar per gallon of ethanol, if not more.

Next, you have the portion of the feedstock (which must also be dried, read: additional energy) to run the system. Yes, you get heat off the system to do this or that, but there is no free ride on energy. That energy will translate to something like another $.30/gallon of ethanol. Then, there is labor, overhead and all the other goodies that it takes to run an operation. That will add another $.50/gallon. Now, conservatively, or perhaps the opposite, we are easily now at $1.50/gallon, probably $2/gallon. Assuming the biological system, with the bugs dying continuously (nothing lives forever), maintenance costs on keeping the culture up, including labs, labor, etc., you very likely will have another $.25/gallon.

This pushes the likely costs close to $2/gallon and counting-without considering anything else that might affect the costs. Nothing really wrong with $2, mind you. That translates to an equivalent of about $3 bucks for gasoline production, energy for energy delivered to the wheels…except that gasoline costs considerably less at the production point in the vertical integration.

See also:
GM aligns with Coskata on cellulosic ethanol; good plan or Exxon's Reliance re-visited?

***Separately, on biofilms, EarthTimes writes:

MELBOURNE, Florida, February 7, 2008-- QuoNova LLC, which is 88.7% owned by XL TechGroup, Inc., has generated preliminary in-vitro data indicating high efficacy of selected Quorum Sensing Blockers ("QSB") in inhibiting biofilm formation by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) strains and fungal organisms such as Candida sp.

QuoNova's business strategy is to develop and commercialize its proprietary QSB "disruptive technology" platform to address unmet needs in several multi-billion dollar markets including therapeutics, medical devices, consumer care, agriculture and several industrial applications.

QuoNova has optimized its proprietary QSB technology to obtain small molecules with a broad activity profile that are effective against multiple pathogenic Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains as well as fungi. These promising results, which are the subject of continuing research, further underscore the potential of QuoNova's QSB in combating the detrimental effects of biofilms, especially in clinical environments, where mixed microbial communities predominate. MRSA bacteria (hospital and community acquired) cause increasing healthcare problems due to their resistance against most conventional antibiotic therapies.

On Microsoft criticizing Google over IP

NakedCapitalism has a post titled: Microsoft Vs. Google Spat on Copyright which includes the text:

Microsoft on Tuesday [6 March 08] launches a fierce attack on Google over its “cavalier” approach to copyright, accusing the internet company of exploiting books, music, films and television programmes without permission.

Harry&David sue IBM over WebSphere and Net Commerce software

Looks like IBM's schizophrenia over patents extends to selling patent lawsuits to its customers.

NetworkWorld noted: IBM is facing a $6 million patent-related lawsuit from Harry&David, an Internet retailer that was sued because it used an IBM e-commerce system that allegedly contained technology patented by two other companies.

IBM knew about a patent infringement issue with its products, but didn't tell Harry & David. NetworkWorld stated: The Oregon-based Harry&David, an IBM customer since 1991, purchased WebSphere and Net Commerce software to create an Internet-based catalog used to sell its products. IBM knew these products contained technology patented by Charles E. Hill & Associates as well as NCR, but failed to notify Harry & David or defend the company when it was ultimately sued by Hill, Harry & David alleged in a complaint filed on Feb. 26 in U.S. District Court in Oregon.

See also

letter of Drew Vinal,
President and CEO,
Thunderbird Technologies, Inc.,
Morrisville, NC 27560

opposing patent reform. Vinal's father worked for IBM.

see also