Thursday, March 20, 2008

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


Post a Comment

<< Home