ASU Licensing Agreement with Roche

Arizona State University (ASU) has decided to sign a licensing agreement for the results of several biotech research projects with Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche. The company, based in Basel, Switzerland, is currently the largest biotech firm in the world, with several global sites in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, Brazil and many more.

While Arizona State University is a public research university with over 70,000 students enrolled in 2010. The technologies which will be licensed from ASU include technology for a DNA sequencing system which was developed in collaboration with scientists at Columbia University.

The licensing deal will provide additional revenue for the ASU biotech team, which is also benefiting from a $5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. The grant was intended to help the researchers construct a prototype of the DNA sequencing device, with a goal of increasing its capacity to read DNA molecules much faster than the current rate. Roche may be able to commercialize the device in cost effective chips for DNA sequencing.

Neither party is disclosing financial deals of the licensing agreement at this time. The agreement is the latest step in an ongoing relationship between the two companies, which has resulted in the licensing of five different ASU patent applications over the years. The school is known for its advanced biotech research, and it even has its own technology transfer division known as Arizona Technology Enterprises.

This organization has invested over $100,000 in the DNA sequencing technology, so the licensing agreement represents a return on this investment. The biotech development team at ASU is headed up by Dr. Stuart Lindsay who is working on the DNA sequencing technology in collaboration with Dr. Colin Nuckolls of Columbia. The agreement represents a growth opportunity for Roche to add to its annual sales of over $50 billion.

Pfizer inks Licensing Agreement with GlycoMimetics

GlycoMimetics has inked a worldwide licensing agreement with pharmacutical giant Pfizer for an investigatory compound the company has been researching known as GMI-1070. This compound is indicated for the treatment of vaso-occlusive crisis, a condition commonly associated with sickle cell anemia. It is a pan selection antagonist in the Phase 2 stage of development which has received Fast Track and Orphan Drug status from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Pfizer is an American multinational pharmaceutical company based in New York. Some of its top productions are Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction, Lipitor used to lower blood cholesterol and Celebrex for anti-inflammation. GlycoMimetics, on the other hand, specializes in developing drugs that target rare diseases.

Under the terms of the licensing agreement, GlycoMimetics will retain responsibility for completing the Phase 2 trials under the oversight of Pfizer. Following completion of these ongoing trials, Pfizer will assume responsibility for ongoing development and marketing of the drug. The agreement is valued at $340 million for GlycoMimetics, a sum which includes a series of milestone payments along with an upfront payment and royalties.

The exclusive licensing agreement between GlycoMimetics and Pfizer will offer a new treatment option for vaso-occlusive crisis, a condition that lasts between five to six days and results in more than 75,000 cases of hospitalization in the US each year. During a vaso-occlusive crisis, the patient experiences tissue damage and pain and can suffer damage to multiple organs.

This new drug represents the first significant advance in the treatment of vaso-occlusive crisis related to sickle cell disease in the last 50 years. It works by inhibiting selecting interactions to head off the inflammation which leads to vaso-occlusive crises. Pre-clinical trials showed that GMI-1070 was effective in restoring blood flow to vessels in animals with sickle cell disease. This leading drug candidate is now being evaluated in human subjects with sickle cell disease.

Acacia Acquires Hearing Aid Patent

A subsidiary of patent troll Acacia has recently acquired a patent for technology relating to hearing aids from a major company in the industry. The subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation has acquired the patent in its ongoing effort to broaden its licensing success.

Many major tech companies have partnered with Acacia in licensing agreements for their patentable technologies. Acacia, a US company with headquarters in California, is known for using strong arm tactics to secure a leadership role in the technology licensing space, and continues to aggressively expand its patent portfolio through licensing agreements such as this one.

Acacia Research Corporation currently controls almost 200 patent portfolios that cover a wide range of technologies in various industries. Through its numerous subsidiaries, Acacia’s business model is premised on patent trolling. This involves Acacia buying patents and then licensing them or filing lawsuits against alleged infringers of its intellectual property.

This most recent acquisition in the medical technology space adds to Acacia’s existing patent portfolio on hearing aid technology which dates back to acquisitions the company made in 2005. These acquisitions were originally made by Acacia Patent

Acquisition Corporation, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Acacia Technologies. They acquired several patents at that time which covered hearing aid technology known as electromagnetic compatibility shielding, or ECS. This form of technology is common to most hearing aids on the market today.

It is a patented technology which helps to shield the devices from electromagnetic interference that is emitted by mobile devices like cell phones, wireless headsets and WiFi/Bluetooth devices. ECS technology is easy to incorporate into a variety of hearing aid styles, and the market for these medical devices in the US is lucrative with millions of units sold annually.

The average price of hearing aids incorporating ECS technology can vary widely from $1000 to over $3000.

Amazon Tablet Faces Patent Lawsuit

The Amazon Kindle Fire tablet has yet to hit store shelves, yet it is already the subject of a patent suit filed by Smartphone Technologies. The company alleges that the Fire is in violation of 4 different patents.

Smartphone Technologies is a subsidiary of Acacia Research, which is known in the industry as a patent troll thanks to its long history of litigation against major tech firms like RIM and Apple. Amazon.com, on the other hand, is an American e-commerce company based in Seattle, Washington, with operations worldwide. Amazon is the world’s biggest online retailer, offering a range of products for sale such as books, DVDs, video games, toys, apparel and more.

The four patents that the Fire is accused of violating cover a number of basic features which are shared by most tablets and smartphones on the market today. For example, one of the patents covers a method by which a touch screen can be used to enter commands on a mobile device. Specifically, this refers to U.S. Patent No. 6,956,562. One of the other patents covers a method for calendar storage on a mobile device.

The patent lawsuit from Smartphone Technologies was filed just two week after Amazon introduced the Fire tablet, which is intended to be a low priced tablet option. It is slated to hit the store shelves priced at $199 this November. It’s interesting to note that the patent in the lawsuit relating to the calendar storage method dates back almost ten years and has never been challenged in court before.

This patent was initially granted to Palm back in 2002, while another patent in the suit targets the “Kindle 3G + WiFi” mobile device itself. Acacia has been unsuccessful in some of its previous patent trolling attempts, which include a loss back in 2007 against Red Hat and Novell. Acacia’s stock price dropped over 35% following the result of that patent suit.

Brainstorm Creative Invention Ideas

Inventors know that great inventions start from an idea in one’s imagination. Fortunately, some tips can help anyone stimulate their imagination to brainstorm some creative invention ideas.

The first tip is to write a particular topic word or phrase that you want to brainstorm about at the top of your paper, and then set a timer for your brainstorming session. You should then continue to write words and phrases related to that topic in a list on the page until the timer runs out.

The goal of this exercise is to never stop writing while the timer is going, even if that requires that you write down something silly. The reason for this is that if you stop writing, you will likely interrupt the creative flow of ideas.

Focusing on a single topic in this way will force you to examine it in great detail. Try to take an exhaustive look at the topic until you cannot break it down into any further detail.

Free writing is one of the best techniques for inspiring invention creativity. This brainstorming idea involves writing about a topic without censoring yourself. In the case of an inventor who is trying to come up with a creative new idea for a dog toy, for example, you should begin to write about that topic until the point you get stuck. At this point you must continue writing even if you simply write that you are out of ideas.

By continuing to do this for an extended period of time, new streams of ideas can be opened up which otherwise may have been curtailed before they were allowed to develop. At its core, the technique encourages the flow of one’s imagination to “invent” these new ideas. Many inventors who have tried this strategy have found that it allowed them to come up with ideas they otherwise may not have thought of.

History & Examples of Small Invention Patents

The model for the utility patent dates back to German patent law in the 1800′s, and addresses a gap in market for small inventions which were not patentable at the time but were deemed as worthy of patent protection due to their economic value.

Prior to the utility patent designation, the German patent office was only granting patents to inventions which were completely new and highly innovative.

However, the industrial revolution produced a great number of valuable technical solutions which were very simply constructed. These were generally modifications of existing objects and tools which were already in common use.

This model proved to be useful throughout the industrial world and quickly spread to other countries, including the Unites States and other Western countries. The model was most recently introduced in Denmark as late as 1992 and Austria in 1994.

When looking back at the US Patent Office records, one will find a wide variety of curious, small invention success stories. It’s a good bet that even the smallest, simplest items we use everyday are covered by patents which have made fortunes for their inventors.

Because patent law requires that each change made to a patented item be patented as well, many significant inventions like the telephone are covered by numerous patents.

No item is too small, simple or cheap to be patented, and in many cases the simpler items require greater patent protection because they are cheapest and easiest to copy.

A good example of simple design which became a best selling toy is the “return ball”, a simple rubber ball attached to the end of a long piece of elastic. The string is tied around the finger or held in the hand, and when thrown out the ball returns to the thrower’s hand thanks to the recoil effect of the string.

Beating the Invention Competition

When it comes to beating the inventing competition, you will always have to face this issue regardless of which industry your product is in. Even if you have invented a revolutionary new product like a microwave oven, for example, your competition would still be from the traditional cooking methods like hot plates, grills and ovens.

Once you come up with a new invention idea, you should investigate the market to find out who manufactures competing products. Conduct an evaluation to determine how different your invention is from these other products and begin to compile a list of all the advantages and disadvantages of your product in comparison to competing products. This process will allow you to learn a lot from your competitors while also envisioning how your product can be distinguished from competing products.

Despite the challenges you will face against your competition, it can actually be a positive thing as it forces you to be efficient and innovative with your invention ideas. Research shows that competing inventions can foster accelerated innovation within a given industry. In recent years, this dynamic has become more prominent in the US as companies are turning to innovation to stay relevant to their customers and differentiate their products from competitors. The difficult economy has forced even more innovation to cut costs and compete more efficiently in a shrinking market.

When compared to similar research following previous recessions, the results this time are quite different. Since companies have cut costs to the bone, they are now turning to innovation as a way to improve their execution and be more competitive. Innovation ranks as the top growth strategy for global organizations and small businesses alike in today’s difficult environment. Investment in IT and clean technologies and productivity enhancing innovations rank as high priorities for many large companies today, and your next invention could fall under such a niche.

Palomar Patent Settlement with Syneron

Palomar Medical Technologies has reached a settlement with Syneron medical in two different patent lawsuits. The companies agreed to enter a non-exclusive licensing agreement which grants Syneron worldwide, irrevocable license to two Palomar patents on its professional laser hair removal technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, Syneron and its subsidiary Candela will pay $31 million to Palomar and issue a royalty free license on some Candela patents. Under a separate agreement, Palomar will grant Syneron a non exclusive license in the United States for two patents on consumer hair removal products which will pay royalties.

Syneron will also pay a 5% royalty on all US sales to Palomar, up to a pre set limit which was not disclosed. After that limit is reached, the royalty payments will increase to 6.5% up to another pre set limit, and will increase to 7.5% on all sales thereafter.

Palomar Medical Technologies is a top research and development firm in the area of laser-based aesthetic treatment systems, while Syneron Medical is a global leader in aesthetic device development based on its ELOS technology that utilizes the synergy between optical and electrical energies for aesthetic medical treatments.

The comprehensive patent settlement between the two companies ends the dispute on terms which are mutually agreeable to both parties. Syneron’s strong balance sheet will benefit from the terms of the fully paid up licensing agreement as it helps to eliminate their exposure to legal costs related to the issue going forward.

At the same time, it doesn’t require that the company make any additional payments on professional laser hair removal technology while boosting margins. Palomar also benefits from the agreement as the strength of its patents receives further confirmation. Palomar is a pioneer in the area of cosmetic laser products, having produced the first professional laser for hair removal in 1997.

Can You Patent a Idea?

It is possible to patent a idea on your own and save a lot of money in the process. Filing an electronic patent application on your own without the assistance of a patent attorney can cut out the costly legal fees so you will only have to pay for the application fees that are required.

The disadvantage of filing a patent yourself is that you may take longer time than a patent specialist, and you may leave out important requirements to fully protect your idea.

The first step in filing for a patent application online is to download and fill out the patent application. You can select from a Utility Patent application, a Design Patent application or a Plant Patent application.

Utility and design patents cover manufactured articles while plant patents cover types of plants which are engineered. You should explain your idea on the application according to guidelines set out in Title 35, Section 112 of the United States Code, and also include illustrations of your idea if these will improve the explanation of it.

Technically speaking, you cannot actually patent ideas but only actual inventions. This means that if you have a great idea for an invention, you will need to implement that idea in the form of a functional object or design which can then be patented. Products, compositions, processes, manufactured articles, machines and other tangible inventions are eligible for patents, while abstract ideas and theories on their own are not.

You will need to work hard in order to turn your idea into a product, and if you are successful then you will be able to patent it.

You should do everything possible to keep your idea a secret while you go through this process, since ideas can be easily stolen. If you do want to share your idea with anyone else before filing a patent application and obtaining a priority date, you should have them sign a confidentiality agreement.