…Canada is (reasonably) upset by various "buy American" provisions that are being pushed by various local governments despite the fact that anyone with any economic knowledge at all recognizes that "Buy American" provisions do more harm to American interests. This is an important issue, and there are lots of ways to address it. But it's flat-out ridiculous to believe that the "answer" to the Buy American issue is for Canadians to capitulate to American interests in implementing much more draconian copyright law. And yet, that's exactly what an American lobbyist just told a Canadian Parliamentary gathering recently.
The American lobbyist in question, Scotty Greenwood, has "a history of serious conflicts of interest in her dual role as a lobbyist and as an executive director of the Canadian-American Business Council" according to Masnick. Will the Canadians fight against American copyright imperialism or will they capitulate with hopes of placating their conflicted neighbors to the south? Stay tuned, gentle reader.
MassHighTech.com: Reza Mollaaghababa and Michael Doyle of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP offer their thoughts on the Patent Reform Act of 2009 in their recent joint piece. Here's a paragraph that contains the meat of their take on how the act falls short of its intended target:
The implementation of the Reform Act promises to result in stronger patents, it also is likely to considerably increase the workload on the Patent Office whose resources are already over-stretched. The Act does not adequately address this issue. Consideration should be given to the introduction of a provision similar to that employed in some countries by which applicants have the option of requesting examination within a period after filing (e.g., three years), rather than requiring that each application be examined. Such a provision could dramatically decrease the Patent Office’s workload while realizing the benefits of a stronger patent system contained in the Patent Reform Act.
Not only do the authors present some criticisms of the act's proposed changes to patent law, they graciously come up with a way to strengthen the provisions of the legislation to bring them into line with other, forward-looking country's ideas on the matter. For the rest of the story, be sure to check out Mollaaghababa and Doyle's Patent reform benefits high-tech companies.
JongAng Daily: Here's an interesting take on the importance of intellectual property and its protection from an unlikely corner: South Korea. "Intellectual property and patents have become the core of the global economy and of national strength. Korea once became a colony because it turned away from industrialization. If it ignores the knowledge revolution, it may become a colony once again, this time of intellectual property." This from the president of the Korea Patent Attorneys Association and he is certain to try to avoid the ignominy of being the man who didn't shake Korea out of its IP slumber and onto the global stage to compete with its ancient and current economic enemy, Japan. The president of the KPAA sets the stage for the battle with these strong and soul-stirring words:
Korea is unenthusiastic about this global change – but the longer it goes, the higher the possibility that it will become a new kind of colony, yoked to countries with more advanced technology. The trade deficit with Japan grows year by year, proving the point. In fact, the financial industry in the United States ignored the intellectual property revolution, too, and the consequence was the global financial meltdown.
It is not too late for Korea to rebuild a country based on the intellectual property revolution, just as Zhuge Liang used the southeastern wind to win a victory in the Battle of Red Cliffs. How can we do that?
To find out the answer offered by our honorable speaker, be sure to check out the rest of the story in [Viewpoint] Korea must not be left behind again.
PopularMechanics.com: The Patent Reform Act of 2009 is gaining attention from new and unexpected sources including the good folks at PM. Erik Sofge's recent article on the subject, entitled Inventors Slam Patent Reform Effort, sets the tone for the body of the piece. Sofge reports on what a select number of innovators and industry experts think of the act's new "first-to-file" (FTF) provision:
In the broadest, most long-term sense, FTF's tough-love approach could help smaller inventors. But it could also marginalize them even further. "Large companies can afford to file patents on every idea they have," says Lonnie Johnson, president and founder of Johnson Research and Development, inventor of the Super Soaker, and Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award winner for his Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Conversion System. "Small companies, we have to weigh our options, do the research. We have to decide where to place our bets. We can't just cover everything we do." Johnson, a former nuclear engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab who holds more than 100 patents, isn't worried about the time it takes to fill out applications or about presenting copious lab notes. It's the cost—when you include legal fees, each patent costs as much as $15,000. "I'm looking at my books, and I have about 26 ideas I should be patenting," Johnson says. "There's no way I can afford to file on everything we come up with."
So in the eyes of many smaller businesses, it all comes down to money. Big companies can afford to use the shotgun approach when filing patent protection applications and are more easily able to continue on with other projects if one of their many ideas fail to pass muster with the USPTO. Writing in a clause to help small businesses compete more easily in the patent world would be tricky and since every large business started out struggling to cut its teeth on the dry pablum of patent law, there's certainly a strong arguement to make all comers fight on the same playing field and let the winners rise to the top.
Bloomberg.com: Bristol-Myers, the maker of Plavix, a blood-thinner whose chemical name is clopidogrel bisulfate, has won a case "in which creditors claimed the drugmaker hid information about its effort to settle a patent suit with Apotex Inc." David Glovin reports:
The case against New York-based Bristol-Myers, filed in 2007, settled in principle in May. U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in Manhattan yesterday granted final approval of the accord. He previously gave preliminary approval.
According to the complaint, Bristol-Myers entered into a settlement in 2006 that allowed Apotex, based in Weston, Ontario, to make a generic version of Plavix. The investors claimed Bristol-Myers didn’t disclose that as part of the settlement, it agreed to relinquish certain legal rights and entered a secret oral side agreement with Apotex.
“The court hereby finds and concludes that the plan of allocation proposed by lead plaintiff is, in all respects, fair and equitable to the class,” Crotty wrote. Lawyers from Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman LLP were awarded fees of $21.25 million, or 17 percent of the settlement fund.
The market will most likely increase the price of Bristol-Myers stock with its favorable award but not all involved are likely to be happy with this outcome including "the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, the lead plaintiff for the investors in the class-action lawsuit." Glovin provides more information on this court case in Bristol-Myers $125 Million Plavix Accord Is Approved (Update1).