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IP, Patent

Alzheimer’s Research Patent Dispute: The Indefensible Patent Case

What do you call 1000 patent lawyers chain together at the bottom of the ocean? (A: For all I know, infringement of some patent related to chaining things together at the bottom of the ocean.)

That’s it! I’m giving up. I’ve been swayed and I’m switching sides. Next time you see me, I’ll be hunting down patent attorneys left and right. (Some day, I’ll have something to say here about the increasingly violent comments by readers of Masnick’s Techdirt blog), but for today, Masnick has swayed me with his powerful, powerful words:

We keep hearing stories of important healthcare research being disrupted by patents, and the latest, as pointed out by Slashdot, involves an organization called the Alzheimer’s Institute of America… which happened to buy some patents on a DNA sequence, and is now suing or threatening to sue a ton of researchers in the space. Amusingly, AIA presents itself as an organization committed to supporting Alzheimer’s research, when it appears the organization is more focused on shaking down researchers.

The key lawsuit at issue is the one filed against the Jackson Laboratory, which provides special lab mice for Alzheimer’s research and is funded by the NIH. But AIA is pissed off that it’s not getting a cut

Many people would genuinely like to find ways to prevent, delay or (one can hope) cure the disease. But it appears that patents are seriously interfering with that mission. That these efforts to block research are coming from an organization that purports to support Alzheimer’s research is nothing short of sickening.

via Alzheimer’s Research Disrupted By Ridiculous Patent Dispute

How despicable. How dare they use their patents to block the progress of fundamental medical research? I looked up Jackson Laboratory, and you know what I found out? It’s a non profit organization. They’re not out to make money, they just want to give something back to society!  After all, the difference between a for profit and a non-profit company is more than just a way of investing the firm’s revenue, and owners of non-profit companies never draw lavish salaries.

And what about this lawsuit? It’s just pure rubbish. Not only are these patents covering transgenic mice, isolated DNA sequences and nucleic acids for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease so trivial that they never should have been granted in the first place, but AIA had the nerve to rope in other struggling research firms like Elan Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly into this lawsuit.  These tiny, struggling medical companies can’t possibly afford to defend themselves in this lawsuit, especially since they would never dare enforce their own patents against other companies.  These poor, unsophisticated companies probably know very little about patent litigation themselves, and can hardly be expected to take the lead in defending the lawsuit.

Surely Elan and Lilly are turning to the deep pockets of Jackson Laboratory to defend them in what is almost certainly a meritless lawsuit.  And those pockets just aren’t that deep. How can Jackson Labs possibly be expected to pay to defend a lawsuit alleging infringing sales of transgenic mice when it has only made a mere $234,300,000 over the past two years for selling those very same transgenic mice?  Why, these transgenic mice sales only account for 63% of Jackson’s total operating revenue of $367,300,000 taken in over the past two years!

This is plainly an outrage, and no amount of logic and fact can sway me from my opinion that all patents are evil, starting with this one. No story has two sides, and anyone who would dare try to defend this evil patent hoarder’s attempts at blocking these benevolent companies from conducting vital research (that I’m sure they’ll end up giving to us for free) is just a shill and a snake.  I hope the patent owners get strung up by their toes outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco.

View this document on Scribd

Phew! Staring into the logical mirror for that long gave me a headache … can someone email Masnick and tell him he can pick it up now? I won’t be needing it anymore.
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