One of the most important but unresolved problems in therapy with potent and often toxic drugs has been inability to describe, understand, and quantify the relationships and variability between drug doses, concentrations in blood, and the interplay between therapeutic and toxic drug effects. Defining drug action and inter-patient variability has been, for the most part, limited to simplistic descriptions of average maximum and minimum drug dosages. Until recently, this has not permitted true individualization of therapy for each patient.
Although significant inter-individual variability has been known to exists in the response to most medications, medication selection has historically used empiric data rather than individualized. This is despite the fact that the FDA is increasingly recognizing the importance of the genetic contribution to the individual variation in response to therapy. Nevertheless, the main reason that physicians have not incorporated genetic and non-heritable host factors into treatment plans is the lack of applicable, easy to use algorithms that translate the patient’s characteristics into clinical recommendations.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) recently received U.S. Patent No. 8,589,175, titled Optimization and individualization of medication selection and dosing, which may change the way individual variability based on genetic make-up is utilized in order to both select and prescribe certain medicines. The CCHMC patent specifically covers methods for optimizing dosing regimens for medications utilizing population models, genotype, and clinical information to treat patients with neuropsychiatric and other disorders. Assurex Health is the exclusive worldwide licensee of the technology covered under the CCHMC patent and has developed pharmacogenomic tests for psychiatric, ADHD, and pain medications.
Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death, according to the CDC. Annually, 40,000 individuals who are over 65 years of age visit emergency departments with traumatic brain injuries suffered as a result of a fall, of which 16,000 of these individual are hospitalized and 4,000 of these individuals die. Indeed, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults, resulting in approximately $30 billion in direct medical costs per year.
Enter Patrick Hardigan, Ph.D., Executive Director for Health Professions Division Research at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). Dr. Hardigan set out to develop a model useful for predicting the effect that medication and dosage has on injurious falling. He recently received U.S. Patent No. 8,521,490, titled Statistical model for predicting falling in humans.
“Our goal is to develop a multidisciplinary fall prevention program and ultimately reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries due to falls,” said Hardigan.
The Innovation Act (HR 3309) was introduced on October 23, 2013; was marked-up on November 20, 2013; and by a vote of 325-91, passed in the United States House of Representatives on Thursday, December 5, 2013. This fast-tracking of the Innovation Act was despite bipartisan concerns raised by Judiciary Committee Members who urged Congressman Goodlatte (R-VA), who is Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to slow the bill down for additional consideration and hearings.
Despite efforts of many in the House, the Innovation Act as passed includes fee-shifting provisions, which provide that the loser of a patent infringement litigation would have to pay the attorneys’ fees of the winner unless the loser’s positions were objectively reasonable. One of the most watched amendments to the Innovation Act had been the amendment submitted by Congressman Mel Watt (D-NC), which would have stripped the fee-shifting provisions from the Act. The Watt amendment lost by a vote of 213-199. Those who opposed deviating from the American Rule and adopting the British Rule (i.e., loser pays) are hopeful that the closeness of the vote on the Watt amendment will cause the Senate to take a closer, more thoughtful look.
Another provision of the Innovation Act that received much discussion, in the limited window available at least, was the change to the estoppel provisions that apply to post-grant review and inter partes review. The America Invents Act (AIA) included estoppel provisions that would prevent those challenging patents, as well as those in privy with them, from raising serial challenges by saying that they could not challenge the same patent claims again based on any prior art that was raised or could have been raised. The Innovation Act removes the “or could have been raised,” which all but certainly suggests that serial patent challenges will become possible, if not likely.
Online fantasy sports games, such as fantasy football, baseball, hockey, golf, and automobile racing, are extremely popular. In fact, this past weekend marks the start of the playoffs in my fantasy football league. Unfortunately, I did not make the playoffs this year. Darn injuries and under-performing “superstars”!!!
In any event, it is not at all uncommon to file fantasy sports related patents and patent applications. I myself have had occasion to draft a patent application (soon to be allowed) on a fantasy sports invention. So, a fantasy sports-related patent or application always grabs my attention.
If you are not familiar with fantasy sports, allow me to provide a bit of a primer. A user creates a fantasy team comprised of players that are associated with real-life players. The user’s fantasy team may compete against fantasy teams of other users, with specific scoring rules. When your player does something good, such as scores a touchdown or kicks a field goal, positive points are scored. When your player does something negative in real life, such as an fumble or throws an interception, points are subtracted.
Last month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued U.S. Patent No. 8,566,362, titled Method and system for versioned file system using structured data representations. As the title implies, this invention purports to provide the ability to create a versioned file system from the object-based storage infrastructure of public cloud storage providers.
When deployed at scale, object storage systems are cost-effective, stable and highly available; therefore, they are well suited to the needs of the large Web companies that operate them. Unfortunately, until now, object storage was not well adapted to handle changes quickly or in a consistent manner, which makes the technology unsuitable for data center infrastructure in its raw form. Thus, it was necessary to bridge the gap by leveraging local snapshots to create a direct mapping between a high-performance file system and a series of immutable versions of the file system that are then committed to the object store.
According to Andres Rodriguez, CEO of Nasuni, which is the owner of the ’362 patent, the goal when the company set out to develop a versioned cloud based object-based storage system was to “consolidate all of the storage functions into a simple service offering… The era of glorified hardware boxes is coming to an end. It is too expensive to keep up with the sheer growth in data and the need to have that data protected and available everywhere. Enlightened IT organizations are thinning their data centers and leading the charge towards a new era where simple appliances offer direct access to the vast resources that are available in the cloud.”