Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Two excellent biographical sketches of the ultimate submariner -- Jerome Lemelson

I particularly liked this quote:

"Like Thomas Edison, he regarded a patent as a right to sue" This article is more, however, the story of the battle between Lemelson's attorney, Gerald Hosier, and his nemesis, Robert Shillman, head of Cognex Corp. [Part 1] [Part 2]

A much more critical view -- with fewer colorful quotes and fantasies of physical violence comes from the Scotsman site.

Nathan Myhrvold claims patent 'problem' is myth -- "and patent trolls don't exist either"

Former Microsoft wunderkind, amateur paleontologist and accused "patent troll" Nathan Myhrvold opines that the US patent system is functioning quite well.

"Patent litigation represents only three per cent of federal lawsuits and there has been a steady decline in the number of lawsuits filed per patent, Myhrvold said at Progress & Freedom Foundation national conference on Tuesday. "Almost everything you have heard about patent litigation statistics is not true," he said. "Patents are the least litigious part of intellectual property law."

Although, clearly, Myhrvold has a distinct financial interest in strengthening the patent laws, as his latest endeavor, Intellectual Ventures, is in the business of enforcing other people's patents, this self-interest should not, in my view, devalue the central thrust of his remarks -- patents are no good to anyone unless they are enforced and there is nothing inherently wrong with a third party who intends to enforce those patents purchasing that intellectual property from an inventor who either cannot or will not spend the time and money for enforcement.

Generics Defeat Pfizer in Gabapentin Litigation

Generic drug manufacturers, including Ivax Corp. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries defeated Pfizer, Inc. on the generics' summary judgment motion of non-infringement Monday. Judge John Lifland, of the District of New Jersey, ruled that the generic version of gabapentin, the key ingredient in Pfizer's epilepsy drug Neurontin, did not infringe Pfizer's patent. The generics' motion to invalidate the patent on the grounds of indefiniteness was denied, however.

This follows Ivax's successful turning back of Pfizer's preliminary injunction motion last August.

This result is a substantial blow to Pfizer, whose sales of Neurontin had dropped from $782 million a year earlier to $161 million in the first half of this year.