Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rick Weiss tackles the challenge of patent reform

The first paragraph of Weiss's report in Science Progress, directed to the Obama administration and Congress on the topic of patent reform:

Large-scale investment in science and technology
could simultaneously help jump-start the flagging
economy and generate solutions to the pressing
problems of climate change, sustainable energy,
and national security. But the prospects for private-
sector investment in this much-needed innovation
economy will be limited if one often overlooked
element of America’s economic engine is not well
tuned to modern realities: the U.S. patent system.

A footnote appears on KSR:

In KSR, the Court rejected the Federal Circuit’s rigid application of the “teaching-suggestion-motivation,” or TSM, test, holding that the determination of obviousness must allow the use of “common sense” by one skilled in the art. A key ingredient of KSR was the elimination of the requirement of foreshadowing prior art, which precluded a finding of obviousness with respect to “innovations” that were so obvious that no one even bothered to write about them.

Of Science Progress:

Our objective at Science Progress is to improve the understanding of science among policymakers and other thought leaders and to develop exciting, progressive ideas about innovation in science and technology for the United States in the 21st Century. Science Progress is a project of the Center for American Progress, a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)3 educational and research organization. Views and opinions expressed in content published on are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Center for American Progress.

Of Rick Weiss:

Rick Weiss is a Senior Fellow at American Progress. Weiss came to CAP from The Washington Post, where he was a science and medical reporter for 15 years. At The Post, he covered a range of topics from medicine and health to engineering and materials science, with a major focus on the ethical, legal, social, political, and economic implications of scientific advances and their public policy impacts. He was the lead reporter at The Post on such hot-button issues as cloning and stem cells, agricultural biotechnology, and nanotechnology, and he led coverage of the civil liberties and consumer protection issues raised by the genomics revolution and personalized DNA testing. [Weiss has a B.S. in biology.]

IPBiz previously discussed some reporting in the stem cell area by Rick Weiss:

IPBiz notes that Weiss did not discuss the criticism of ACT by Ian Wilmut "the authors make unjustified claims for their techniques."

By only mentioning the criticism of Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Weiss perhaps suggests that the only problems are being raised by those motivated by a religious/ethics concern. This is consistent with the last words of the article:

"They're really going after everything they can," Lanza said. "They've got the whole machine geared up."

See August 2006 post on IPBiz titled: Nature corrects wording in release about ACT stem cell work . IPBiz notes that in the end, the work reported by ACT was not such a big deal, and hyping the religious-attack angle obscured the bigger issue that there was "no there, there."

Science Progress also brought us Better Patents Through Crowdsourcing. In a memorable paragraph at Article One, one "crowdsourcer" described his approach:

I submitted 79 different examples of prior art on the GRMN study and had only a handful rejected as not relevant. The legal nuances of what constitutes prior art, and especially INVALIDATING prior art, are apparently subtle. The patent that was my personal favorite and that I thought would be totally invalidating apparently wasn’t, from a legal standpoint. Some of my patent submissions were deemed legally not relevant even when I couldn’t tell a difference from the patent I had submitted just before it. Ultimately I submitted tens of US Patents for consideration to AOP and none of them were the one that got me the GRMN prize. Only when I kept going and dug into WIPO patents did I come across the winner – and I didn’t even know it when I found it. It was just one more item in a batch submission I made one week.

One throws mud on a wall, and see what sticks.

See also

**UPDATE. On Rick Weiss and stem cells-->

Stem Cell Fairy Tales and Stem Cell Fables
Critics of Research Ignore Use In Drug Discovery and Cell Development Studies

Note that IPBiz, a critic of CIRM, has NOT ignored these applications.

**UPDATE. You blink your eye, and instead of writing "to" the Obama administration, Rick Weiss is part of the Obama administration -->from IPS on 17 June 2009 -->

Jun 17 (IPS) - Fiercer heat waves and wildfires in the U.S. western states, bigger storm surges along the country’s coasts, and disruptions to energy, water and transportation systems are just some of the expected impacts of climate change, according to a new White House report that marks the first scientific statement from the Barack Obama administration acknowledging that the problem is already directly impacting U.S. citizens.

Rick Weiss, a spokesperson for the president’s Office of Science and Technology, told IPS the scope of the 188-page report, titled "Climate Change Impacts Across America - Renewed Focus for Decisions", was extensive.

"We took eight years to synthesise 21 individual studies from 13 federal agencies, along with help from numerous independent groups and universities," he said.

Hmmm, was this the report that said New Hampshire was going to have the climate of South Carolina? And what climate will
South Carolina have? Maybe that's why SC gov Mark Sanford was missing?


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