Friday, April 17, 2015

What To Read Next

Lately the folks at Way Better Patents been reading a lot about precision medicine and the emerging worlds of molecular medicine, synthetic biology and biotech start-ups.  It's an outgrowth of watching the patent world try to figure out how it will deal with the very specific aspects of developing drugs for people that have a specific genomic profile. Not for the faint of heart or anyone who isn't good at complex thinking.  The level of scientific complexity in precision medicine on top of the intricate dance of protecting and enforcing intellectual property in the pharmaceutical industry will make for a very interesting patent landscape for years to come.  So we embarked upon an effort to get smart.

Our latest read is all about how Vertex Pharmaceuticals brought two important drugs to market.



The Antidote: Inside the World of New Pharma by Barry Werth — How the rugged world of drug innovation really works.

Why Read It?


This choice is timely for a lot of reasons.

It's easy to read despite the deep science and complicated processes it reveals.  Lots of interesting scientists and innovators here.

USPTO is faced with many challenges on what exactly is patentable in the microbiology, molecular medicine, chemistry space.  Is the invention a product of nature or not?  How will patent examiners deal with the avalanche of data that goes along with a new pharma patent application?  At our latest visit to USPTO’s Biotech Partnership it took over an hour and 57 slides just to explain how to upload a sequence listing and another mind exploding 45 minutes and two presenters just to explain how patent term extension works for drug patents.  (We'll be posting both shortly...stay tuned.)  There is a lot going on here.  

There are molecular medicine patents coming from very unusual places as the latest from the Colorado School of Mines shows.  We ignored Captain Renault's advice to "round up the usual suspects" and found 8,968,705 an invention in the nanomedicine space from The Colorado School of Mines (Mines) — gold/lanthanide nanoparticles for use in targeting, treating, and/or imaging disease states in a patient. You read that correctly, The Colorado School of Mines, the folks who focus on Earth, Energy, Environment. The university focused on engineering and applied science in the geoscience arena adds a new contribution to the spectrum of inventions in the nanomedicine space.

The economics of big pharma are in the midst of dramatic change as biotech delivers more customized medicines that address smaller populations of users. This dramatically changes the economics of healthcare.  The complex issues are unfolding before our eyes as people questions what they see as the exorbitant price for SOVALDI® (sofosbuvir) in treating Hepatitic C (it’s cheaper than a liver transplant) or KALYDECO® (ivacaftor) developed to treat cystic fibrosis.  Both drugs and diseases play starring roles in this book.

Back to the patentsphere for a moment.

There is lots of rumblings over the latest business ventures of Erich  Spangenberg in the pharma space. Mr. Spangenberg is working with Kyle Bass, an activist investor, to use the inter partes review process at USPTO to challenge and invalidate pharma patents.  Basically the play is to file an inter partes review to invalidate a patent, short the stock, and wait for the money to roll in.  There are a host of other shareholder fiduciary and due diligence issues here and board room plot twists galore.  What will be interesting here is that the pharma, biotech, chemistry IP crowd tend to play the patent game at a much higher level than our favorite business methods patent monetization letter writers. No going after the easy stuff like healthcare related business methods patents here. And, this is a passion play on what happens when you tinker with the patent system.  Most of the patentistas never envisioned the inter partes review process being used in the way Mr. Spangenberg and others are now using it.  Lots of intrigue.  Understanding the nuances of how a new molecular drug gets to market and the business of making that happen will help you be more informed when watching this latest patent monetization drama unfolds.  

Add the announcement from IBM, Apple, Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson on their new healthcare offering designed to change the information landscape of medicine and pharmaceutical design.  We’re fans of translational R&D. This partnership and others evolving in the space are clearly an important way to use information to move innovation from the bench to the bedside and back to the bench faster.

And then there are all the discussions on fixing the patent system, the Innovation Act, patent cliffs and the fate of big pharma, shorter patent terms for drugs and a host of other issues.  

Check out the Way Better Patents Reading List.  Read this one and Peter Huber’s The Cure Is In the Code and you’ll have a whole new perspective on pharma innovation and intellectual property. 




Thursday, April 16, 2015

Innovation Business Intelligence

Patents and published patent applications are one of the only publicly available sources of concise scientific information on the output of research and development, the potential use of the inventions, and new product design features. 

If you want to have a deep understanding of the direction of science, technology, and engineering, read patents.  If you don't want to read all of the arcane patent, try the way we read patents to see what they are about.  You don't have to read all of the details to understand the essence of a new invention and where it fits into the world of innovation.  

Each week we publish weekly state-by-state digests about all of the new patents granted that week, the inventors responsible for them...all of the inventors not just the first named inventor on a patent.  This will help you know when local companies and inventors are granted patents. It will help you know which companies are local and which companies are around the company that are working with local inventors.  

So what do you do with this information?  Find investment and partnership opportunities. Know what is happening in your technology parks. Understand the science and technology behind new university spin-outs and start-ups. Work with companies building new products to focus on new STEM job creation and enhance workforce development. Use the Coming Soon™ navigation map to see what's happening and reach out, recruit, retain, and grow.

If you want to know what innovation is coming soon....read patents.  It's not as bad as you think.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

This Drives Marketing People Nuts

Today the IBM Watson folks announced establishing a Watson Health Cloud to dramatically advance effectiveness and quality in personal health care, working with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to get the HIPAA-enabled system up and running.  An innovative blockbuster collaboration.

Here is an image of the way this announcement appeared at the top of the Google Search:


Pfizer.  Not J&J, Apple, IBM or Medtronic.  This must drive the marketing people crazy.  The marketing people in Armonk, New Brunswick, Cupertino, and Minneapolis (and Dublin) are probably not pleased.

Oh...and my male colleagues inform me that these cute blue pills are Viagra.  You can't make this stuff up.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Cooperative Patent Classification Hits 100%

100% Coverage - Finally


This week is the first week that all newly granted patents contain Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) symbols.  It's been a long haul.  A lot of folks were focused on USPTO's granting of patent number 9,000,000.  We think the CPC news  is a much bigger achievement.

Next up, when will the CPC become the primary resource for examiners to search for prior art.  While the USPC is essentially a static collection of organized prior art, to date, we haven't seen a lot of growth in the Field of Search data indicating the wide use of the CPC for searching.  Perhaps this will increase when patent applicants include CPC data on their information disclosure statements.  Our guess is that it will be a long, long time before that happens unless USPTO mandates that they will only accept CPC symbols on the IDS.

This week's Box Scores are up.  Another interesting week in patent land.  So many multiplexed communication inventions again.  Geez.

Well, enough patent geekery for a Friday.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen Place Your Bets

So Close Yet So Far...

Place your bets.  Will USPTO hit 100% of new patent grants having Cooperative Patent Classification symbols next week?  

Of the 6,251 utility patents this week, 98.4% had CPC classification data. Another uptick over last week's 96.6%.  Next week starts the publication of the Official Gazette with CPC data integrated therein.  Now it's going to get interesting.

Here is this week's box score summary:

Score Card

March 31, 2015
Total: 6,805
New Grants*: 6,796
*New Utility, Design, & Plant Patents
US Grants: 3,309
Foreign Grants: 3,496
Named Inventors: 18,541
Domain This Week Year To Date
Utility 6,251 71,710
Chemical 1,223 13,760
Electrical 3,371 38,624
Mechanical 1,657 19,326
Design 525 5,347
Plant 20 199
Reexam 11 184
Reissue 9 129
Errata 64 632
Corrections 398 5,744
Business Methods 36 342
Broad Business Methods 567 6,281
Databank Sitemap










Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fracking Fluid in Your House

The Obama Administration released its new regulations on fracking. Five minutes later, industry groups filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the regulations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "In a move that upset environmental groups, the new rules require companies to publicly disclose chemicals they use through an industry-run website called FracFocus within 30 days of completing the fracking process." We're not sure why the environmental groups are upset, we're guessing because the site is run by an industry group. (Isn't it better for the taxpayer for the industry to pay for this, but we digress…)

We thought this would be a good time to drag out two articles written two years ago that highlight what's in fracking fluid and the contents common use around the house.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Coming Soon in South Carolina


This week's Coming Soon Digests are available.  It was a busy week.  Here's a look at what's coming soon in South Carolina.







Coming Soon™ South Carolina

Find Innovation in Your Neighborhood

So Far In 2015:

  • The Way Better Count of all patents granted to South Carolina-based inventors or companies shows 270 patents granted to South Carolina inventors;
  • 249 patents granted to companies and other entities that worked with inventors from the State;
  • 53 of those entities identified their location as being in South Carolina.


This Week

The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) granted 6,998 new patents to 18,974 inventors.

South Carolina inventors received 26 of those patents representing the work of 50 inventors from 19 State municipalities. Here is this week's down to earth look at innovation in South Carolina.


This week's heatmap of South Carolina inventors.

The location and concentration of South Carolina inventors this week
Explore This Week's Digest

Each week Way Better Patents publishes a state-by-state, town-by-town index of the inventors and companies granted patents, what these innovators are working on, where they are and who they are collaborating with.

Use Coming Soon™ to find, recruit, and retain the Commonwealth's innovators.

What's In Coming Soon™

  1. The Digests — Each week Coming Soon™ Digests present a state-by-state, town-by-town look at invention and innovation.

  2. The Map Room — State and National maps of the geography and topology of invention.

  3. Scientific Presence Profiles — A holistic look at science and technology activity; inventive and innovative trends, talent pools, and the depth of scientific, technical and engineering enterprise in each State.

  4. Great Resources — Tons of great free resources to help you understand why patents mean business.
Learn More

Who Uses Coming Soon™ Digests?
  • Economic and Workforce Development Professionals
  • Talent Scouts
  • Investors and Entrepreneurs
  • Science and Technology Public Policy Makers
  • Technology Transfer Professionals
  • Product and Business Development Managers