Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Ô Kamala!

La candidate à la vice-présidence des États-Unis, Kamala Harris, a obtenu son diplôme de l'école secondaire Westmount à Montréal en 1981.  Elle est presque aussi canadienne que Ted Cruz. Le Canada est-il devenu une école de finition pour la présidence américaine?  Merveilleux!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Leafing Lizards

Since 2005, a population of lizards has kept me company as I read on my front porch.  They pop out of and dive back into cracks between bricks of my front pathway.  While outside their burrows, they forage frenetically through leaf litter.  Yesterday, I spotted the largest individual I had ever seen.  I managed to take some closeup photographs of this big dark brown and black lizard, one of which is reproduced below. 

Broad-Headed Skink (Plestiodon laticeps)

I formerly identified these lizards as Common Five-Lined Skinks (Plestiodon fasciatus), in part because the smaller ones have five cream-colored stripes on their backs and sides, and sometimes have bright blue tails.  However, close scrutiny of my new photographs has changed my mind.  Now I think my lizards are Broad-Headed Skinks (Plestiodon laticeps), which can sport stripes and tails similar to those of their close relative, the Common Five-Lined Skink, but tend to be considerably larger, and have five scales on their upper lips between their noses and eyes.  The main challenge in identifying these lizards has been their constant activity, vigilance, and impressive speed.  No lounge lizards they.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Dr. Fauci Speaks

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci is Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ("NIAID").  This role has made him a medical science and policy leader in the struggle against SARS-CoV-2, as well as an undeserving lightning rod his opponents have struck repeatedly.  On July 15, 2020, The Atlantic published a revealing interview with Dr. Fauci.  It's well worth reading.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Legal Information Wants To Be Free

The amazing David L. Schwartz (Northwestern Law School) has coauthored a clarion call in the journal Science to make legal information freely available to all, allowing rigorous analysis and informed correction of the law.  As the authors point out,
In the United States, a range of technical and financial obstacles blocks large-scale access to public court records—all but foreclosing their use to direct policy. Yet a growing body of empirical legal research demonstrates that systematic analyses of court records could improve legal practice and the administration of justice. And although much of the legal community resists quantitative approaches to law, we believe that even the skeptics will be receptive to quantitative feedback—so long as it is straightforward, apolitical, and incontrovertible.
If implemented successfully, this proposal would allow data-driven legal decisions and legal reform.  Not everyone may be happy about this development, though its benefits are likely to be substantial.  In fact, as the authors suggest, “although much of the legal community resists quantitative approaches to law, we believe that even the skeptics will be receptive to quantitative feedback—so long as it is straightforward, apolitical, and incontrovertible.”  As Sherlock Holmes warns in A Scandal In Bohemia, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Articles Of Trade

On July 8, 2020, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador visited United States President Donald J. Trump at the White House to mark the new United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement ("USMCA")(Accord Canada–États-Unis–Mexique (ACEUM)/Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement ("CUSMA") in Canada, and Tratado entre México, Estados Unidos y Canadá (T-MEC) in Mexico), which came into the force on July 1, 2020Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was conspicuous by his absence.  The full text of the USMCA is available here.  The 89 articles (plus additional annexes) concerning intellectual property, in USMCA Chapter 20, including new rules for geographical indications, are here, replacing the mere 21 intellectual property articles (plus annexes) found in Chapter 17 of the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA").  Whether or not USMCA members trade more articles, these countries now have more trade articles.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Murine Insufficiency

On June 24, 2020, the United Kingdom Supreme Court ("UK Supremes") gave judgment in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (Respondent) v. Kymab Ltd (Appellant), a case concerning European Patent (UK) No. 1 360 287 (the "'287 patent") and its divisional, European Patent (UK) No 2 264 163.  Claim 1 of the '287 patent (upon whose sufficiency all three claims at issue in this appeal depended) is as follows:
A transgenic mouse that produces hybrid antibodies containing human variable regions and mouse constant regions, wherein said mouse comprises an in situ replacement of mouse VDJ regions with human VDJ regions at a murine chromosomal immunoglobulin heavy chain locus and an in situ replacement of mouse VJ regions with human VJ regions at a murine chromosomal immunoglobulin light chain locus.
Here is the question as framed by the UK Supremes:
whether a product patent, the teaching of which enables the skilled person only to make some, but not all, of the types of product within the scope of the claim, passes the sufficiency test where the invention would contribute to the utility of all the products in the range, if and when they could be made.
A majority of the UK Supremes held that claim 1 lacked sufficiency, explaining
it is settled law, in relation to a product claim, that sufficiency requires substantially the whole of the range of products within the scope of the claim to be enabled to be made by means of the disclosure in the patent, and this both reflects and applies the principle that the contribution to the art is to be measured by the products which can thereby be made as at the priority date, not by the contribution which the invention may make to the value and utility of products, the ability to make which, if at all, lies in the future.
The UK Supremes found the three patent claims at issue in this case as poor in sufficiency as a transgenic church mouse.

Thank you to PatentlyO for bringing this decision to my attention.