Bloggers Cover IP at the 2009 International Convention

Patent Baristas and Patent Docs wrote a series of compelling summaries at the 2009 BIO International Convention. We were happy to provide both blogs, as well as other great bloggers at the Convention, opportunities to hear a diverse group of experts from academia, industry, and government analyze the top issues impacting biotechnology.

Visit and to view their posts on patent reform, biosimilars, healthcare reform, USPTO reform efforts, and more.

Were you a blogger at the Convention? Send me an email and I’ll update this post with your link:

Remember, you can follow all the convention news at and


For U.S. Healthcare Reform and Global Health Crises, Both Public and Private Efforts Needed

This morning Laura and I attended 2 sessions about the benefits of collaborative public-private partnerships at the International Convention.

The first was the super session “Global Biotechnology Innovation: Connecting the Laboratory, the Field, and the Marketplace” with speakers from the Food & Drug Administration, National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – moderated by former U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, Louis Sullivan. The speakers discussed how discoveries created through collaborative initiatives have accelerated biotechnology innovation to address global health disparities. The second session, “Time for Action: A prescription for Health-Care Reform” was moderated by BIO’s President & CEO and included speakers from the American Cancer Society, Regence BlueCross BlueShield, and the American Medical Association. The speakers presented their association’s perspectives on how U.S. healthcare reform could become a reality under the Obama Administration after decades of Congressional failures to comprehensively address rising costs and limited access to care.

The two panels addressed what are seemingly different topics: one global heath, and the second national healthcare reform. What struck me was the need to sustain new, complex collaborations between all stakeholders in order to encourage finding solutions to “old” problems.

The old view of global health programs states that logistical issues, including a lack of needed resources and capacity, require a top-down strategy with governments leading the efforts. Yesterday’s idea about healthcare reform, taken up by many a Congress the past 20 years, asserts that only the grassroots efforts of individual Americans can encourage permanent, sustainable solutions in communities where the government is unable to keep up (and often times hurts innovation rather than helping).

The truth is, for both global health goals and national healthcare reform, innovation requires both a “grass-top” and a “grass-roots” approach. I stole that phrase from the CEO of the American Cancer Society, John Seffrin. Seffrin is also CEO of the ACS Action Network. Both branches of the ACS facilitate efforts at the individual level (encouraging prevention and wellness efforts, for example) and the national level (analyzing Congressional proposals for reform). Both entities working together help solidify the foundation upon which the war on cancer can be won.

Indeed, the driving factor of encouraging biotechnology innovation to meet health care goals comes from the individual human beings who suffer, manage, and cure their own or another’s illness. Individuals collectively bring their unique experience and knowledge as patients, physicians, researchers, venture capitalists, university administrators, and government policymakers to public discourse, and by working together, benefit each other and accelerate finding a solution to health needs.

Some examples taken from the 2 sessions:

1. Gardasil, the blockbuster cervical cancer vaccine appeared under the guidance of collaborative efforts via the CDC.

2. The hope of collaboration helped the FDA form the basis for what would become the Critical Path Initiative for clinical trials.

2. Collaboration was the key for the American Medical Association’s work to address streamlining patient care by studying inefficiencies inequalities in the healthcare system, as Dr. Patrice Harris described this morning.

3. AMA, BIO, and ACS joined together to create the “Health Economy Now” website, which puts the focus of U.S. healthcare reform efforts on the need to lower costs through health information technology, changes in the reimbursement system, and encouragement of prevention & wellness. Jason Daughn of Regence remarked that “real reform lets innovators innovate, and preserves competition through public-private partnerships.”

4. James Curran, Dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University described that when the HIV/AIDS epidemic first emerged in 1981, it was thought that we would never find the cause or be fully able to characterize the disease. Since then, we can now screen the blood supply, extend the lives of those infected with HIV with antiretroviral therapy, prevent pregnant women from passing the virus to their unborn children, and measure the viral load of an infected individual’s blood.

 Both public and private entities are needed at the table of public discourse, not one or the other. We can address health needs in both the United States and developing countries at the same time by working together via open, fair, and collaborative partnerships. It saves money, time, effort and – most important of all – lives.

This post was co-written by Margarita Noriega and Laura Sambataro at BIO.

IP Think Tank Podcast: Biotech Intellectual Property at the Crossroads

Thanks to the IP Think Tank blog, we have a great podcast on Biotech Now where Gregory Glover, a panellist at the 2009 BIO International Convention about the pending Biosimilar legislation and concerns over situations where a follow on product might avoid patent claims but still be able to rely on innovator regulatory data.

China IP Forum to Bring Third Patent Amendment Face-to-Face with Biotechnology Concerns

Emerging markets, particularly the China market, have become a strategic area for pharmaceutical and chemical companies and law firms. China’s lawmakers adopted third revision of the law recently, which will bring a number of substantial changes to the Chinese patent system.

The third amendment of Chinese patent law was recently passed and will become effective October 1, 2009. The amendment includes a number of  changes  of particular concern  to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, such as foreign filing license requirement, genetic disclosure requirement, granting compulsory licensing, etc. 

How will the third amendment of patent law impact China’s role an active participant in biotechnology innovation? This August, concerned observers will get a chance to ask the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO) themselves at the 2nd International Pharmaceutical and Chemical IP Forum, August 5-8, 2009 in Beijing. The 1st Forum in 2006 was endorsed and supported by SIPO. This time around, SIPO Commissioner, Tian Li Pu, will chair, with the Chinese Intellectual Property Society (CIPS) as co-organizer. The forum will provide an opportunity for the biotechnology community interact and network with Chinese government officials, representatives from China’s chemical and pharmaceutical industries, representatives from Chinese academia and IP attorneys from China , and facilitate an understanding of the needed checks and balances in a health, robust national intellectual property system.

China IP Forum:
SIPO official site (Chinese)

Sunny Wang is Head, Patent Search Group and Patent Agent at sanofi-aventis.

BIO 2009: How Biotech Helps Heal, Fuel, and Feed the World

I’ll be writing updated about the top IP events at the 2009 BIO International Convention (, as well as Twittering some quotations from speakers ( for those unable to attend the Convention this year.

I’ll also be hosting both the BIO IP Counsels Reception and the Technology Transfer Breakfast on Monday, May 18, 2009 ( for invitations), and joining Eva to host the Blogger Happy Hour ( that same day.

Are you visiting Atlanta next week?

Why Blog about Intellectual Property? BIO Policy Briefing Raises the IP Social Media Question

BIO held the Spring 2009 Policy Briefing especially for its law-firm members last Friday. The response was overwhelmingly positive from our members, and the exchange of information was an essential part of its success. For those of you who couldn’t attend, Dr. Kevin Noonan of PatentDocs wrote a summary of the event yesterday.

At the end of the call, an insightful question was raised regarding PatentlyBIOtech: its purpose, value, and mission in a world stacked full of blogs.  The increased flow of information, thanks to expanding global telecommunications networks, has created a sense of competition in today’s media outlets.

Looking out onto the blogosphere and IP, I see a future for patent blogs to provide news on different areas of interest and for different audiences, painting a picture of the diversity of industries working on solutions to heal, fuel, and feed the world. By connecting today’s events with our member’s work spanning the decades, and their ability to continue doing that work to meet society’s goals. PatentlyBIOtech is a small mirror to an industry that has yet to see the fruits of its labor understood (thus valued) in a wider public audience. Journalist majors graduating universities today who may not understand the link between economic stability and a strong intellectual property system. Policymakers learning about “creative commons” may not understand that there are different ways to share information — and that not all industries can use the same path towards innovation.

Take patent reform: for some  companies, the issue of how damages are awarded as a result of their own misuse of another company’s patent is a sensitive spot, given the large financial compensations they pay for what amounts to a single aspect of a complex invention. Nevertheless, lobbying Congress to pass legislation that weakens patent rights for all small inventors lowers incentives to innovation for everyone. A long time ago in a land far away, that large company was once just a small inventor who needed their “small” invention protected just as much as a more complex invention.

Its this kind of myopic thinking about the intellectual property system that a blog can highlight.

BIO’s IP staff will be at the 2009 BIO Annual Convention in Atlanta, May 18 – 21, 2009. Meet us, the IP Counsels Committee, and international delegates from patent offices around the world on Monday, May 18, 5:30pm,  for a pre-Convention happy hour at the IP Counsels Reception at the Omni at CNN Center, Grand Ballroom E.

BIO IP News Weekly for May 1, 2009

Click here to read BIO’s IP News Weekly for the week of May 1, 2009. For more information about BIO, visit

BIO Home Video: The Promise of Personalized Medicine

I recently interviewed Dr. Daryl Pritchard, Director, Research Programs Advocacy at BIO about how personalized medicine provides opportunities for sustainable healthcare reform. Its my first in a series of interviews with BIO staff meant to help connect the biotechnology community to what we’re up to at BIO, but more importantly, to talk about what the biotechnology community is up to during this current economic climate. 

While the ongoing economic recession has decreased funding opportunities for biotechnology research and development, thanks to previous funding and the continued success of researchers, personalized medicine is and will continue to be a key arena for economic growth.

You can watch the interview at