Friday, April 04, 2008

Patents, Regenerative Medicine, and Academic Myopia

CBS Sunday Morning on 23 March 08 had a piece titled Medicine's Cutting Edge: Re-Growing Organs which included the story of the re-growth of the finger of Lee Spievack and the work of Wake Forest researcher Dr. Anthony Atala.

The CBS story mentioned the commercialization efforts by Tengion:

The Tengion Company has bought the license, built the factory, and is already making those bladders developed at Wake Forest that we told you about earlier.

"We're actually building a very real business around a very real and compelling patient need," said Dr. Steven Nichtberger, Tengion's CEO.

Tengion believes regeneration will soon revolutionize transplant medicine. Transplant patients, instead of waiting years for a donated organ, will ship cells off to a lab and wait a few weeks to have their own re-grown.

IPBiz, two years ago, covered the patent aspects of the Atala work. IPBiz notes that the path of Atala/Tengion is not the "typical" path described by Mark Lemley, nor is the patent/R&D interface as described by Bessen/Meurer. This is further evidence of the disconnect between the academics and reality. As noted elsewhere, a recent law review article by Lemley was funded by Cisco and other IT players.

The CBS report also discussed work by Dr. Steven Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine and Dr. Patrick Shenot.

***Entirely separately -->

One IPBiz reader furnished a link to ‘Originality, Imitation and Plagiarism’ edited by Caroline Eisner, academic dean at Landmark College, and Martha Vicinus, director of the Sweetland Writing Center and the Eliza M. Mosher Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan.

IPBiz has been puzzled by the lack of digging by national news media into the sub-prime mortgage crisis. There is a lot of talk about the hardships created but NOT a lot of talk about "how" this came to pass. One comment on townhall noted:

In 1999, Clinton pushed Congress for, got, and signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which became law during the Great Depression and forbade banks from getting into the investment business--a major factor in that 1929 depression.

With the amendments made in 1995 to the Community Reinvestment Act now in place, and the securitization of sub-prime mortgages mandated, the floodgates were opened.

Another comment: At the rate we are producing lawyers, there is no reason not to have a complete 500 million page mortgage regulation specifying absolutely everything that needs to be done and when for every conceivable circumstance.

See also a column at seattlepi.

IPBiz was impressed by comments of Earl Hutchinson concerning the Obama campaign. Perhaps Mr. Hutchinson can inquire about Obama's reliance on Mark Lemley on matters of patent policy.

An IPBiz reader just sent some thoughts on Stanford professor Mark Lemley, which included the following -->

I would add, that he has never done R&D, never gotten his own patent after years of labor to "get it right", ....and never had his own $$$ (and others' jobs) on the line.

A) Having never done R&D, he has a "rear view mirror" version of history, "everyone was close to having the same result", when the reality is that you could be one step away from the solution and never find it. But one could hear of "one missing piece" in a talk, and then write up your own patent on an overall process. From the perspective of 20-50 years, one does not see "the talk", one only sees another patent in the area.

B) I still think it is shameful he is teaching IP, with no appropriate background....but that is a Stanford issue.

Note the post on Patently-O about Microsoft Corp. v. z4 Tech. (on petition for certiorari 2008) wherein the 102(g) prior art
asserted by Microsoft is in a Brazilian version of Publisher.

Note the understatement by Meurer in response to question from Forbes:

What presidential candidate has the best plan or stands on the best side of the issue for patent reform?

[Barack] Obama. He had announcements in favor of patent reform. Obama also has Mark Lemley on his team, a patent law scholar that thinks about a lot of these issues the same way that I do. I have no real read on where [Sens.] Clinton and McCain stand. It's not a real priority for most candidates.

**Update. Pay attention to Atala's paper in Lancet.

See also

Bladder augmentation: Review of the literature and recent advances

Serhat Gurocak1, Jody Nuininga2, Iyimser Ure1, Robert P.E De Gier2, Mustafa Ozgur Tan1, Wouter Feitz2
1 Gazi University School of Medicine, Department of Urology, Section of Pediatric Urology, Ankara, Turkey
2 Pediatric Urology Centre Nijmegen, Department of Urology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Netherlands


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