New Blogger

Patently Biotech has a new writer.  My name is Roy Zwahlen and I am the new Intellectual Property manager at BIO.  I am an attorney and political science undergraduate and fascinated with intellectual property policy.  I am excited about this opportunity to enter the IP blogosphere.

My hope is to provide information about BIO’s IP activities including conferences and amicus briefs.  I also hope to reintroduce our IP staff and spotlight our BIO company members.  Finally, I plan on featuring guest writers from around the Biotech industry on IP issues. 

I am heading to Boston for BIO’s Intellectual Property Counsels Committee Fall Conference and Committee Meeting from Monday October 18th to Wednesday the 20th.  I plan on posting summaries of our panel discussions on the following topics:

  • Evolving patent-eligibility standards for genes, biomarkers, diagnostics, and cell-based therapies;
  • Valuation of IP when selling, licensing, or acquiring biotech patent rights;
  • Present and impending changes to the way you practice before the PTO;
  • How to defend your patent in an inter partes reexam;
  • Whether inequitable conduct reform is close or elusive;
  • Inducement, divided infringement, “abstract idea” exceptions, and other things that go “bump” in the dark if you own Biotech method patents;
  • Tales from the edge and beyond: accounts of biotech investment in emerging market countries.  

Don’t Forget:

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Collaboration: The Key to Success

BIO’s PatentlyBIOtech Blog was started in November 2008 as a way for the friendly, funny, late-night-oil-burning staff at BIO to share the news, event, and policy information we receive by the second. We get so much news here, we have to share it for it to be of the most value to the public and the industry.

In terms of the Blog’s focus, we take economic development seriously.  We concentrate on understanding the trends in the biotechnology industry, and sharing information about those trends. We know that the best way to succeed in building a sustainable, strong economy geared towards meeting social goals in health, energy, and the environment is to work together. Just read the recent essay on collaboration by Rick Williams of the Hamner Institutes For Health Sciences (Hamner website):

The BIO Conference: A Platform for Collaboration

By Rick Williams, Chief Business Officer, The Hamner Institutes For Health Sciences

Rick WilliamsCollaboration among the world’s top biotechnology hubs is not only strategically sound, but critically necessary, and the BIO international conventions provide organizations worldwide with an annual opportunity to develop and strengthen results-driven partnerships. At BIO 2008 in San Diego, leaders from The Hamner met with representatives from China and Norway and began to discuss ways to work together. These BIO meetings were followed by a series of visits to each other’s respective headquarters and the signing of new agreements.

The Hamner’s partnership with China Medical City, located north of Shanghai, led to formation of a joint institute and an increase in research and business opportunities for Jiangsu Province and North Carolina. The new Hamner-China Biosciences Center has also signed subsequent agreements with six other major Chinese science parks and four leading research institutions. Collaborations with the Oslo Cancer Cluster are opening up additional research and technology-development opportunities between NC and northern European cancer centers.Rick Williams

Like The Hamner and its advantageous location in the middle of Research Triangle Park, China Medical City and Oslo Cancer Cluster have also been established in communities where there is a rich fabric of cutting-edge biomedical research accentuated by a high concentration of life sciences organizations and industry. China Medical City is a science park dedicated to the development and commercialization of biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical technology products; the Oslo Cancer Cluster is a biotech cluster organization committed to accelerating the development of new cancer diagnostics and medicines.

As an independent 501(c)(3) biomedical research institution, The Hamner has been built on a model similar to that of the Broad Institute and Whitehead Institute in Boston. It acts as a catalyst to link world class universities with a strong “eco-system” of pharmaceutical companies, biotech start-ups, drug development and regulatory experts, etc., thereby enhancing translational research and commercialization of new bio/pharma products.

The Hamner has expanded its NC collaborations to create a Global Biosciences Gateway, which focuses on translational research, training programs, biopartnering, and economic development. By working closely with academe, industry, and government agencies, The Hamner and its partners-like China Medical City and the Oslo Cancer Cluster-are working together to accelerate development of new biomedical technologies that improve healthcare for patients worldwide.

BIO looks forward to learning from and collaborating  with partners who, like The Hamner, see the importance in public-private funding, research, and product development for a healthier and safer tomorrow. Here are some recent additional examples that showcase BIO’s collaborative appreciation:

PatentlyBIOtech received its highest readership ever during the last two months, thanks to the excellent series of PatentlyBIOtech essays written by the staff at Thrive, the economic development enterprise for the 8-county Madison, Wisconsin Region.

You can read more about BIO’s ongoing activities on our blogs and at our annual International Convention website, which will be updated in real time starting this Friday, April 30.

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.


Welcome to PatentlyBIOtech, BIO’s newest (and prettiest) blog. The blog’s all about intellectual property, technology transfer, biotechnology, gene patenting, global health, economic growth, sustainability, green jobs, you name it… and we’ll help you along the way!

I wanted to share some quotations get us in the mood…

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” Carl Sagan

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply!” Goethe

“I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world.” Margaret Mead

“Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.” Samuel Johnson

Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.” Bill Gates