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.

Monday, July 6, 2020

O Say Can He Play!

For the 2020 Fourth of July holiday, Japanese Consul General in New York, Kanji Yamanouchi, offered this wonderful Jimi Hendrix-inspired tribute to his host country, the United States of America:  Consul General Yamanouchi can really shred his Fender Stratocaster.  As Wayne and Garth would surely say, "We are not worthy!"

Thursday, June 25, 2020

In Memoriam Rose Paterson

I was greatly saddened this morning to learn that Rose Paterson had passed away.  I had the pleasure of meeting her three years ago while we and our families were both visiting her brother in Northumberland.  She was a lovely and talented person, who, among her accomplishments, once crossed Mongolia on horseback.  As she lived near Ellesmere, Shropshire, here is her obituary in the Shropshire Star.  My sympathy to her family.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Digital Evolution

Cloutier et al. (Nature, March 18, 2020) recently described a fossil fish (pardon the paraphyly), named Elpistostege watsoni, whose skeletal remains suggest the emergence of digits:
Here we report a 1.57-metre-long articulated specimen of Elpistostege watsoni from the Upper Devonian period of Canada, which represents—to our knowledge—the most complete elpistostegalian yet found. High-energy computed tomography reveals that the skeleton of the pectoral fin has four proximodistal rows of radials (two of which include branched carpals) as well as two distal rows that are organized as digits and putative digits.
Never has there been a better reason to work fingers to the bone.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Et Tu, Okmok?

A June 22, 2020, article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, entitled Extreme climate after massive eruption of Alaska’s Okmok volcano in 43 BCE and effects on the late Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Kingdom, suggests that the eruption of political unrest following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. may have been followed by climate unrest unleashed by a massive Alaskan volcano:
The assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE triggered a power struggle that ultimately ended the Roman Republic and, eventually, the Ptolemaic Kingdom, leading to the rise of the Roman Empire. Climate proxies and written documents indicate that this struggle occurred during a period of unusually inclement weather, famine, and disease in the Mediterranean region; historians have previously speculated that a large volcanic eruption of unknown origin was the most likely cause. Here we show using well-dated volcanic fallout records in six Arctic ice cores that one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the past 2,500 [years] occurred in early 43 BCE, with distinct geochemistry of tephra deposited during the event identifying the Okmok volcano in Alaska as the source.
This study, by McConnell et al., suggests that the Roman Republic may have been left quite literally on the ash heap of history.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Thinking Outside The Box

I discovered this beautiful little chelonian today, which made my day.
Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata (Agassiz, 1857))

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Shell Shock

Nature magazine reports that palaeontologists may have cracked the egg-laying behavior of several prehistoric amniotes.  Rather than hard, at least some terrestrial dinosaur eggs may have been soft-shelled, while it now appears possible that some prehistoric marine "reptiles" (pardon the paraphyly) laid their eggs on land.  Such paradigm shifts foul the nests of prior hypotheses.