University of Missouri v. Professor: Round 2

Earlier, the university filed a lawsuit in federal district court against chemical engineering professor Galen Suppes to regain rights to his research relating to renewable energy.  Now, a federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit ruling that federal patent law does not apply in the case. The university says that chemical engineering professor Galen Suppes sought patents without assigning to the university and failed to assign his inventions according to university rules.  Suppes has said he sought ownership of his inventions only after the university failed to commercialize his research.  The university then filed a similar lawsuit in Boone County Circuit Court on the same day the federal suit was dismissed.

Chief Circuit Judge Michel Never Saw A (Completely) Bad Patent

Judge Michel gave the keynote at the FTC hearings on “The Evolving IP Marketplace”, addressing the state of patent law and patent reform. Highlight:

I’ve been on the court for twenty years and eight months, and I cannot ever remember seeing a single patent, I’m sure they’re out there, but I can’t remember seeing one where every single claim was invalid. I’ve seen innumerable patents where some of the broader claims either were indefinitely broader or were damn close, but in all of those cases, the narrower claims seemed to me equally clearly to be plainly valid. So what we really have is a problem of some over-broad claims getting through the system, slipping through the sieve that in the ideal world would catch them.  (via 271 Patent Blog)

FDA Says Cheerios Cereal is a Drug

The FDA has issued a warning letter to General Mills alleging “serious violations” of the FDC Act in the label and labeling of Cheerios cereal.  Specifically, the FDA contends that the following label claims make Cheerios an unapproved new drug under FDC Act § 505(a) because they indicate that the cereal is intended to prevent, mitigate, and treat hypercholesterolemia:

  • “you can Lower Your Cholesterol 4% in 6 weeks”
  • “Did you know that in just 6 weeks Cheerios can reduce bad cholesterol by an average of 4 percent? Cheerios is … clinically proven to lower cholesterol.”

(via FDALaw Blog)

Talking with Acting Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino

Gene Quinn of IPWatchdog spoke with Acting Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino about what the Patent Office is trying to do to enhance quality and make a better, smoother process.  In discussing a new Ombudsman, Focarino had this to say:

We are still in the process of working out the implementation details, but each TC will have an ombudsmen who will serve as a resource to applicants on TC-specific issues.  I envision this resource to be a facilitator of sorts who can resolve administrative issues quickly and get an application back on track when problems arise.  This resource is independent of an examiner’s chain of command so can be viewed as a neutral facilitator by the applicant.

In the Irony Can Be Pretty Ironic Category

Two enforcement lawyers at the Securities and Exchange Commission are being investigated by federal prosecutors and the FBI for possible insider-trading violations, according to a report from the SEC’s inspector general.  No wonder the SEC was too busy to get around to firguring out Bernard Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme. (via WSJ Law Blog)


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