Posts Tagged: "R&D"

Links to China Prompt Purge at Moffitt Cancer Center

Underscoring the seriousness of the threat posed by the Chinese government’s campaign to obtain results of U.S. publicly funded research, the Board of Directors at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida announced that its President and CEO, Dr. Alan List, along with center director, Timothy Sellers, suddenly resigned after an internal review found they had violated conflict of interest rules regarding their relationships with China. Four researchers also abruptly left.  The actions came after the Moffitt Center conducted an internal review of collaborations between its employees and Chinese institutions as a result of warnings from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to its grant recipients about foreign attempts to influence or compromise their research. 

Don’t Undermine U.S. Innovation While Standing Up to China

One of the few areas of bipartisan agreement in Washington is that it’s time to respond to Chinese economic and military aggression. The need is underscored by a sobering report from the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations titled “Threats to the U.S. Research Enterprise: China’s Talent Recruitment Plans.” The report documents how China exploits our culture encouraging the open exchange of science in order to achieve their commercial and military objectives. In its editorial, “China’s Bid on American Science,” The Wall Street Journal aptly summarizes the report:  “It found the U.S. government is funding research for hundreds of scientists at American universities and labs who are effectively under contract to turn over their findings to China.” No nation can allow others to steal its cutting-edge technologies. While we must effectively respond to China and others looking to do us harm, we must avoid inadvertently undermining the policies which made us the leader in turning government funded R&D into highly innovative products. Unfortunately, an initial agency response is not reassuring on that score.

WIPO Report—Innovation Is Increasingly Collaborative and International

Innovative activity is more collaborative and transnational, but also focused on a few large clusters in a few countries. These are among the findings in the latest World Intellectual Property Report, published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on November 12. The report focuses on the geography of innovation, using geocoding based on the addresses of inventors listed on patents and the locations of the authors of scientific articles and conference proceedings. The report found that, during the period 2015-2017, some 30 metropolitan hotspots accounted for more than two-thirds of all patents and nearly half of scientific activity. The top 10 hotspots worldwide are: San Francisco/San Jose, New York, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Boston, Shanghai, London, Beijing, Bengaluru and Paris. In the U.S., hotspots around New York, San Francisco and Boston accounted for about a quarter of all U.S. patents filed from 2011 to 2015.

Will Bayh-Dole Survive Its 40th Birthday?

Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act. With election day looming, 2020 is likely to be the most politically contentious year of our lifetime. The country is divided right down the middle on many fundamental issues. Rather than debate, the opposing sides often descend into personal attacks, even questioning one another’s patriotism. This isn’t the time you want issues you care about dragged into the public arena, but patent rights and the Bayh-Dole Act have been summoned into the gladiator pit. Happy birthday, indeed.

Don’t Ignore the Flashing Caution Lights in the Drug Pricing Debate

Trying to rationally address hot button issues in an election year is always a dangerous proposition. That’s particularly true as we approach what promises to be one of the nastiest political years in history. Because so much time will be taken up campaigning, for legislation to pass it needs to get moving soon. It shouldn’t be long before we know whether anything meaningful will happen with attempts to reduce the costs of drugs, where intellectual property rights are in the crosshairs. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that, if action is taken, it’s based on careful consideration of all the related issues rather than raw emotion. While this may be wishful thinking, several thoughtful new articles contain important warnings against jumping down some of the beckoning gopher holes. Critics of the Bayh-Dole Act, which provides the incentives of the patent ownership to commercialize federally funded inventions, claim that the government is developing drugs from its R&D and giving them to companies that then make “obscene profits.”Despite numerous rebuttals, this red herring is continually deployed as the justification for the government setting the price of drugs coming out of public/private sector partnerships.

The ‘Dragon’ Targets U.S. Biopharma Lead

Perhaps the report on China’s strategy for eclipsing the U.S. lead in biopharma from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) resonated so strongly with me because of several articles in The Wall Street Journal. Taken together, they present a sobering picture of what we’re up against. The first was a book review of “Leadership and the Rise of Great Powers” by Yan Xuetong, a prominent Chinese professor. Characterized as “a window into Chinese elite thinking about the world; it is as much a political manual as an international-relations text book.”  The thesis is the inevitable rise of China as the world’s dominant power at the expense of the United States.

Bayh-Dole Rocks While the Critics Play the Same False Note

A just-released study co-sponsored by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and AUTM provides new evidence of the significant contribution academic patent licensing makes to the U.S. economy. The report is the most recent in a series, and the numbers are astounding. This couldn’t come at a better time. Renewed efforts are underway to subvert Bayh-Dole from an engine driving innovation into a weapon for government price controls. Even though the Bush, Obama and Trump Administrations wisely rejected their theories, the critics keep banging the drum, and some in Congress are dancing to their tune.

Restoring IP Rights After the Destructive, Unjust Antitrust Rendering in FTC v. Qualcomm

If a judge ever botched an antitrust case involving patents, the prize may go to federal district Judge Lucy Koh for her ruling in favor of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its antitrust action against Qualcomm. The intersection of intellectual property and antitrust is riddled with land mines and booby traps. The danger of getting an IP issue in this vicinity wrong becomes all the more likely after the Koh ruling and, thus, all the more dangerous and far-reaching. Judge Koh managed to step on several trip wires in her decision for the FTC in a case that should never have been brought, never tried, and should have been withdrawn or dropped. The damage from this ruling will reverberate far beyond the global leader in wireless connectivity technology the FTC unfairly hammered in this case. “Patents are a form of property,” Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Makan Delrahim has said, “and the right to exclude is one of the most fundamental bargaining rights a property owner possesses. Rules that deprive a patent holder from exercising this right . . . undermine the incentive to innovate.” Basic principles like property rights, exclusivity, dynamic competition and the incentive to innovate escaped Judge Koh’s grasp.

The Price of Price Controls: Innovation Likely to Suffer in Drug Pricing Debate

Is Congress really going to do anything useful with respect to lowering drug prices? When the question is presented that way the answer almost seems painfully obvious. Of course not. The question is just how bad they will mess things up, and will they destroy the incentive to innovate as they attempt to seek a very worthwhile solution for the problem of growing costs for healthcare. Unfortunately, the political climate in the United States has increasingly become more circus and circumspect than bold and visionary. It is better to do something entertaining and memorable that plays to the crowd than to go about the business of governing the country, not just for the moment, but for the future. And the political structures in place create outright gerrymandering that practically ensure the overwhelming percentage of Representatives have more to fear from a primary challenge than from a contender in the general election. It is no wonder nothing truly useful can get accomplished in Washington, DC.

Patent Trends Study Part Six: Medical Devices Industry

In the sixth installment of our 13-part patent-trends study (performed in collaboration with GreyB) providing high-level data across industries, we will examine trends in the medical-device industry. The United States has been the largest target medical-device market, at nearly 50% of the global market. These devices are highly variable in purpose, design and complexity. Thus, developing an effective patent strategy can be highly valuable yet complicated. Our study not only identified a set of applications that pertained to this industry, but also—for each application in this set—it was determined whether the application pertained to one or more of the categories shown in the topology below. If so, the application was appropriately tagged, such that it could be included in one or more category-specific data subsets for subsequent analysis.

Apple is Afraid of Inventors, Not Patent Trolls

Apple made headlines with its recent decision to close its stores in Frisco and my home town of Plano, Texas. The rumor is that Apple was afraid of the dreaded “patent troll.” However, Apple is not afraid of patent trolls. They are afraid of inventors. Whenever you hear the term patent troll, think of inventors. Inventors like my friend Bob Short, who solved an important technical problem in 1998 with his invention—a protocol that encrypts real-time audio and video transmissions. Apple wanted his technology for their FaceTime app, so they took it. Bob’s company, VirnetX, has spent six years trying to stop them and make them pay. Meanwhile Apple, Google, and other tech titans have spread propaganda and paid lawyers, academics, lobbyists, and politicians to destroy the U.S. patent system.

Apple Pays for Its Patent Infringement, But Important Legal Cases Continue

n an age with instantaneous commentary on social media, the wheels of justice in courts seem to move at a glacial pace, especially in patent infringement lawsuits in the fast-paced smartphone industry. Yet, courts have been methodically receiving and meticulously reviewing the evidence in Qualcomm’s lawsuits against Apple Computer for infringing its patents. And, like the tortoise who eventually wins over the speedy hare, the judgments are just now coming out against Apple. This past December, a Chinese court issued a preliminary injunction against Apple selling iPhones that infringed Qualcomm’s patents. A week later, A German court issued an injunction against Apple selling iPhones in that country that infringed Qualcomm’s patents. Last week, a jury in the United States found Apple liable for infringing Qualcomm’s patents and awarded Qualcomm $31 million in damages.

New Study Shows Bayh-Dole is Working as Intended—and the Critics Howl

Just as the drug pricing debate on Capitol Hill is heating up, an important new study, “The Bayh-Dole Act’s Vital Importance to the U.S. Life-Sciences Innovation System,” published by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), underscores the law’s contribution to the United States’ lead in the life sciences. The report warns that attempts to misuse the march-in rights provision of the law to control drug prices would have serious consequences to our competitiveness and our health. Predictably, the critics condemned the report as “A lot of myth and propaganda.” Despite being repeatedly rebuffed, they continue to argue the law authorizes the government to license competitors if a resulting product isn’t “reasonably priced.” That debate spilled over to the Capitol Hill unveiling of the study, in which I participated. What happened there sheds a lot of light on the nature of the argument.

Dangers Lie in U.S. Government’s Conflicted Actions Toward Qualcomm, Huawei

5G, or 5th generation wireless communication, has reached the point of determining which core technologies will be used. Suddenly, decisions about which companies will be picked are upon us. And the stakes could hardly be higher — for the companies and for our national (and American citizens’) security. The two businesses in the ring, Qualcomm and Huawei, each find themselves in a tough fight to dominate the IP-based 5G technology on which countless devices—from automobiles to mobile phones to who-knows-what—will interoperate. The 5G platform will empower the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence writ large and more—a technological advance with tremendous potential as well as tremendous risk exposure to spies, hackers and such. Both companies face hurdles from the U.S. government. One makes sense. The other makes no sense.

Happy Birthday, Senator Birch Bayh

Hopefully, you’ve been fortunate enough—at least once in your life—to work for someone you really admired. That happened to me as a Senate Judiciary Committee staffer for Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN), who gave me the opportunity that changed my life. He turns 91 today… Bayh-Dole not only cut through the bureaucratic red tape strangling the development of federally-funded R&D; it marked a turning point in how patents were viewed in Congress. When I first joined the Committee, patents were considered tools for big business to stifle competition. Intellectual property fell under the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopolies. The Senate Small Business Committee was a hot bed of anti-patent sentiment.