In November of 2008, Article One Partners announced the launch of what they characterized as a new global community to legitimize the validity of patents. Community members, called Advisors, would have the opportunity to send in previously hard to find evidence that challenges the validity of high profile patents. It was believed that by tapping the knowledge of Advisors it would be possible to collect valuable publicly available prior art, particularly non-patent literature. I was initially quite skeptical of the plan, but it is hard to argue with results. On Monday, March 7, 2011, Article One Partners announced that it had surpassed the $1 Million milestone and has now distributed over $1 million in reward money to Advisors.
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At 11:30 am on Monday, March 7, 2011, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke spoke at the Asia-Pacific Patent Cooperation Forum hosted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Immediately after his remarks I was granted an exclusive interview with Secretary Locke. The interview was originally scheduled for 10 minutes, but as you can see from the transcript below the interview went long. In fact, Secretary Locke was gracious enough to talk about a range of issues for more than 25 minutes.
During my interview with Secretary Locke we spoke about patent reform efforts in the United States Senate, what patent reform might look like from the House of Representatives, his management style and how to motivate individuals to achieve transformative change. What you will not read, however, is about his much anticipated appointment as the new U.S. Ambassador to China. ABC News first broke the story that President Obama would nominate Secretary Locke to become Ambassador to China after the close of business. This interview wrapped up at approximately 12:30 pm, some 6 hours before Locke’s impending nomination as the Ambassador to China became public knowledge.
UPDATED: March 9, 2011 @ 2:35pm
By a vote of 95 to 5, the Senate last night passed comprehensive patent reform legislation. S.23, “The America Invents Act”. But the path forward for passage of the measure in the House of Representatives remains unclear.
The bill – which was introduced by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and the Committee’s Ranking Republican, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) – moved quickly through the Judiciary Committee, with a Committee vote of 15-0. Catching some critics off-guard, S.23’s advocates were able to take advantage of the light Senate floor schedule that often exists early in a new Congress and to capture the attention of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Specifically, S.23’s bipartisan posture, fueled by an Administration eager to advance innovation and job creation policy initiatives, made the bill an attractive floor measure for Senate Leadership, who was otherwise consumed by a heated, partisan battle over federal government funding.
Washington, D.C. – March 7, 2011 – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) announced today that it is accepting nominations for the third annual Biotech Humanitarian Award. The Award will be given to an individual who, through their work in or support of biotechnology, is harnessing its potential to heal, fuel or feed the planet.
“When you consider the most significant problems facing our world today, such as health, the environment and our food supply, it is clear that biotechnology is uniquely positioned to uncover ground-breaking solutions,” said BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood. “The Biotech Humanitarian Award offers us the opportunity to highlight our biotech innovators – the men and women who are pioneering real solutions to improve people’s lives and the health of our planet.”
Erik Iverson is is Associate General Counsel with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, working exclusively with Foundation’s Global Health initiate. He will be the keynote speaker at the BIO IP Counsels Committee Conference, which will be held in Seattle, Washington from April 13-15, 2011. As a prelude to his presentation at BIO Mr. Iverson agreed to go on the record with me. Part 1 of my interview with Mr. Iverson was published last week, and what appears below is the final segment of our discussion. We pick up with discussion of crowd sourcing techniques to enhance innovation and the humanitarian work of the Gates Foundation, as well as the humanitarian work of all those engaged in the life sciences, which Iverson says is “all about helping people and saving lives.”
Without further ado, part 2 of my interview with Erik Iverson.
QUINN: Yes and I certainly didn’t mean to mention open source in any kind of a pejorative way. And some times honestly I have referred to open source in pejorative terms because I think, in the software area particularly, it is not a very well defined business model. But one of the things I think open source and crowd sourcing perhaps and the combination of really tapping into a collective provides you, moving forward is the ability to get innovation up to a critical foundational level that can be used. And then have that foundation maybe in the public domain. And now that you’ve built it up through collaborative efforts, “You guys can run and do what you want with this as long as you core definable aspect maybe is available for the public.
IVERSON: Yes, I’ll give you an example of where we are doing that. And I must say, in my opinion that there is nothing pejorative about open source, it just depends upon how it is used and under what circumstance. As far as a crowd source goes, and I do like that term, one example of that is our CAVD, which is a collaboration for aids vaccine discovery and we launched that about 5 years ago. And what it consists of is originally 16 sets of grantees that have a large set of collaborators each. And the whole task of the CAVD is to further the development of HIV vaccine. One side doing T cell vaccines, the other doing antibody vaccines. But what we did is we funded centralized laboratories to conduct assays And then a central repository of tissue samples where everyone would deposit their samples and also be able to receive them.
The exhibition “The Great American Hall of Wonders” examines the 19th-century American belief that the people of the United States shared a special genius for innovation. It explores this belief though works of art, mechanical inventions and scientific discoveries, and captures the excitement of citizens who defined their nation as a “Great Experiment” sustained by the inventive energies of Americans in every walk of life. “The Great American Hall of Wonders” will be on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from July 15 through Jan. 8, 2012. The museum is the only venue for the exhibition, which is organized by Claire Perry, an independent curator who specializes in 19th-century American cultural history. Until 2008, Perry was curator of American art at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University.
An updated version of this article is available at:
Yesterday from the floor of the Senate, while debating whether the Senate should pass patent reform bill S. 23, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) cited a letter from Louis Foreman in support of patent reform, which was entered into the record without objection. The name Louis Foreman is well known to those in the inventor community. Foreman is the publisher of Inventors Digest, the Executive Producer of Everyday Edisons, an inventor himself and a serial entrepreneur.
Foreman, who supports patent reform efforts generally and S. 23 specifically, started his first business as a sophomore in college twenty years ago. He has successfully started 8 business in that twenty year period and has been an integral part of twenty additional ventures. Foreman has ten U.S. patents and his firm, enventys, has helped develop and file for another 400 patents. This experience easily has shown Foreman, in his own words, that “the USPTO is hampered by a system that is in dire need of reform.”
Beginning at about 12:30pm Eastern Time today the United States Senate closed debate on the amendment offered by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) relating to the removal of first-to-file provisions from the patent reform bill S. 23.
The Senate Roll was called and a vote taken on whether to table the Feinstein Amendment. The votes were 87 in favor and 13 against, thereby killing the Feinstein Amendment and keeping the first-to-file provisions within S. 23.
Late yesterday afternoon it came to my attention that an article I recently wrote was referenced by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on the floor of the United States Senate. The article is titled Senate to Vote on Patent Reform, First to File Fight Looms and addresses the potential change from a first to invent system (which we have currently) to a first to file system (as proposed by S. 23). Needless to say, I was flattered by the attention given to this article by Senator Kyl.
As flattering as it was to be inserted into the patent reform debate in some peripheral way, the real news from yesterday was the Manager’s Amendment was passed by a vote of 97-2. The Manager’s Amendment, cosponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Kyl, included language that would allow the United States Patent and Trademark Office to keep the fees it collects. The Manager’s Amendment reportedly also included insertions favored by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who is chair of the House Judiciary Committee. See Momentum build for patent bill. Thus, it seems quite likely that patent reform will soon become a reality.