Archive for April, 2010

Diurnal aspergers-like symptoms – self diagnosis via the internet

Posted in 1P on April 28, 2010 by 1place

I am RAZOR SHARP but not so social in the mornings: My mornings exist with social integration problems having one-sided communication & the inability to do things practical like get ready for work), but…

In the evenings I am laid back but not cognitively so astute:

This morning’s razor sharp insight:

Is there a prevalence of diurnal aspergers spreading in epidemic proportions for which the only cure is “don’t go to work in the mornings, but exploit the razor sharp insight by sharing it on the web (which thankfully is often a one-sided form of communication)?


Posted in 1P, Branding, Photo, Sign, Trade Mark on April 17, 2010 by 1place

The Open Source patent – A Disruptive or the Middle Way?

Posted in 1P, Article, IP Protection, IT land, Patent, Tech with tags , on April 17, 2010 by 1place

Is open source patenting a possibility? Is patenting totally contradictory to the idea of open source?

There are plenty of people who espouse the view that patent protection is simply a tool for big business to flex its muscle and block access to innovation by small players and competitors.

However, the underlying rationale of patent protection is to force an invention onto the public record. Sure, the patent owner gets a monopoly but it is limited for a specific period of time (very limited if you compare it to the monopoly a copyright owner gets) and after that it is free for all to use – down to the very last detail. In fact, you can’t get a patent unless you put in the detail.

So the patent databases in reality form the largest standardised library in the world…publicly accessible (no paywall / subscription fees) and reliable (at least in relation to granted or issued patents).

Why should the open source community consider patenting? Getting a patent for an invention blocks another party from getting a patent for the same invention. So, if a group of open source collaborators can secure a patent, it can choose to grant a royalty-free licence to the open source community to use it (just as open source software is licensed). This secures the invention for public use immediately. In other words, it blocks the ability for another party to patent that invention and prevents that other party from exploiting it for commercial gain. Check mate.

Secondly, it secures the open source community the right to continue using the patented invention subject to the terms of the patent licence. A term of the licence may be that any modifications, enhancements or improvements are owned by the (open source) patent owner, thereby retaining all enhancements for public use.

Thirdly, open source patented innovations reside on patent databases and thus form part of the same public record, which makes the public record more comprehensive and useful to the community at large.

So, how is open source patenting workable?

One of the key hurdles to patentability is that an invention needs to be novel (new). This means it cannot be publicly known or used before the patent is applied for. How can open source collaborators collaborate without destroying novelty?

One suggestion for making it workable would be to exploit the “grace period” available under patent laws in countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan and the USA.  A grace period means that you can still apply for a patent after disclosing your invention (sharing it with open source collaborators) so long as you lodge your patent within 6 to 12 months (depending on the country). Sure, it’s not foolproof because not every country has a grace period (Europe is a notable exception) but we’re talking about ways to overcome hurdles to enable open source collaborators to tap in to the benefits of patenting.

Another suggestion is that a project be flagged for patenting at its inception (before any detail is provided) and collaborators sign up under an NDA before they can view and contribute. For example, an inventor could:

  1. provide a high level view of their invention onto a site;
  2. invite contributions or help from the peer to peer to join in drafting a patent description;
  3. interested participants could subsequently request to join the community specifically associated with drafting that patent description;
  4. The inventor and associated community can then let the new contributor join if they show skills that are helpful to the patent’s description generation; and
  5. All contributions would be logged against each contributor so as to determine if they are making a technical or inventive contribution.

What about costs?

Building a community of particular skill sets to help draft the description of an invention for a patent would offset patenting costs and aid in obtaining a contribution by a community in an Open Source manner. The patent once described (e.g. as per the steps above) could have a patent attorney draft the claims or oversee the claim drafting, rather than being involved throughout the process.

If the patent is successful, then:

  1. it could be offered as a kernel to build further inventions off via divisional patents, etc.
  2. if there is a commercial use (even by donation) then any funds received can be made available for use:
    1. by the contributors/inventors, or
    2. the community

to promote further open source patent opportunities such as a contribution for payment of Official Fees in each jurisdiction.

We see this approach as an open source solution to promote access and availability to the excellent resources available both in the community and in the patent offices around the world.

Mental perception extremes stemming from duplication or deletion of genetic code

Posted in Article, Science, Tech on April 11, 2010 by 1place

Autism and psychotic-affective disorders are developmental opposites, two sides of the same coin – according to the theory developed by researchers Bernard Crespi (a geneticist at Simon Fraser University, Canada) and Christopher Badcock (a sociologist at the London School of Economics) that the brain’s balance is set by a “tug of war” between our genes.

Their theory proposes that an epigenetic disruption results in either:
(a) under-development of the ‘social’ brain, which is linked to autism; or
(b) over-development of the ‘social’ brain, which results in psychotic-affective conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

The extremes of these disorders – autism to schizophrenia – are up to 80% heritable and expressed by DNA copy-number variants – that is, the number of copies of each region of human DNA, which is ordinarily diploid: having two copies, one per chromosome. However, this varies for particular DNA regions due to deletion or duplication of the genetic code leading to disorders such as under or over development of the “social” brain.

Nature Medicine reports in its April issue that research by Crespi has found that five sections of DNA with copy-number variants were associated with both extremes, and of these sections, four acted in opposite directions. That is, for some of these copy-number variants:
(i) too many copies were associated with autism, and
(ii) too few with schizophrenia, or vice versa depending on the actual variant.

Why does the deletion or duplication occur?

DNA matched copy-number variants were uncovered with completion of the human genome project, which enabled observation of disorders such as:
(c) cancer – where the level of duplication was found to be elevated; and
(d) lupus and other inflammatory autoimmune disorders were associated with deletion.

This deletion or duplication may have an epigenetic origin.

Gene expression can be altered by non-genetic factors causing the organism’s genes to “express themselves” differently depending on the cell’s memory. For example, a famine three generations ago in males giving rise to trans-generational epigenetic expression of lower heart disease and diabetes compared to a control population.

This recent work by Bernard Crespi and Christopher Badcock has tied genetics, psychiatry and perception in a unified fashion.

A meeting of minds Nature Medicine 16, 353–355 (2010)

Is it the law that allows the success of counterfeit drugs?

Posted in 1P, Article, IP Protection, Science, Tech with tags on April 11, 2010 by 1place

According to Nature Medicine 16, 348 (2010) the law is responsible.

Why the law is poor

Nature Medicine proposes that the reporting o f counterfeit drugs is not mandatory and therefore is underreported. This may be true for the USA where pharmaceuticals are bought online, which is a major distribution source of counterfeit drugs; however, in countries like Australia, this is not a major source of counterfeit drugs.

But where is the problem most endemic? In countries such as India, it is a huge problem since the recipients of counterfeit drugs cannot generally buy legitimate drugs through legitimate means.

In my mind, the first question arises is how does one know that a drug is counterfeit and therefore know to report? This is the first step. The problem with counterfeit drugs is that they do not contain the pharmaceutical required for its action, or may contain a poison.

More laws do not remove the problem

There are many laws already available to stop the sale of counterfeit drugs; however, we are not seeing these laws being used. Why? The main problem is detection. How is an individual or even a practitioner to know if a drug is not working? Is it because of the patient’s own response, the profile of the drug (many drugs are not 100% effective in all patients at all times) or because a drug is counterfeit?

Increasing the policing of counterfeit drugs by putting a mandatory obligation onto reporting of counterfeit drugs will not address the above problems. This really in turn is making a recipient of a counterfeit drug a criminal if they do not report it. Further increasing policing of reporting has a huge cost with little return.

Use reward, not the stick!

I believe that increased reporting is necessary, but not by imposing penalties. A reward for reporting counterfeits would have a much more positive outcome for all concerned. This will help stop counterfeit drug trafficking, because it:
1. will not cause criminalisation the innocent recipients, thus further expanding the black market; and
2. will help the recipients of counterfeit drugs, who are the most vulnerable due, afford the legitimate channels for legitimate drugs.

Further, industry should support the development of readily available objective tools for proper screening of drugs to allow recipients to determine the legitimacy of drugs they have received, thereby facilitating the reporting of counterfeits.

Posted in 1P, Branding, Photo on April 10, 2010 by 1place

Patent Tourism – Emerging legal tourism?

Posted in 1P, Article, IP Protection, Patent with tags on April 10, 2010 by 1place

I note that, as reported in Harvard Business Review, more than 1.6 million Americans will travel abroad for medical treatment for good care at much lower prices.

Is this just limited to medical services?
Can this be for other services such as IP protection?

Consider if you are an individual inventor or a major company with an invention portfolio that you wish to get patents & trade marks for. Would you consider using a jurisdiction such as Australia with high standards and low costs to:
1. lodge your initial Patent & Trade Mark registrations , followed by
2. use of international treaties such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) & Madrid Protocol (trademarks) to extend the protection into the expensive jurisdictions such as Europe and the USA.

Outsourcing services & exploiting international treaties is also available for IP protection: will this be another emerging outsourcing & off-shoring?

Published initially in blog at