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By: Farshid Machiwala
There are no direct benefits for the owner to own a patent because hundreds of patents and products lie in dust in the federally funded universities and research laboratories across the country. A patent or product should be adopted, purchased or leased by a corporation for development, manufacturing and marketing, without direct financial benefits.

To capitalize on the government’s investment in federal research, the skills and technology must be recognized in the market arena, so that when commercialized, will not only strengthen the nation’s socioeconomic well-being in the global marketplace, but also ensures its security and prominence.

A transfer agent makes federally funded research available to private industry, for finding new applications for new inventions, technologies, and products. So royalties and revenue could be returned to the research agency that fund additional studies and projects.

LipidLabs, Inc, partners with Fortune 500 companies, small enterprises, universities, and research institutions bringing innovations to market. Finding or funding private and publicly held corporations LipidLabs turns research into reality. With a network of US federal government agency laboratories and technical facilities LipidLabs promotes and facilitates the rapid movement of federal research results and technologies into the mainstream of the US economy.

As reported in The Washington Post dated December 12, 2006, "the incoming Democratic chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees announced that they would extend current budget levels until the 2008 fiscal year begins next October 1.

Those American Competitiveness Initiative agencies: NIST, NSF and DOE/Science will most likely not receive the increases for their programs that they were expecting. Also, numerous authorizing legislative proposals sponsored over the past year have potentially made impacts on the technology community in general.

This bill addresses most of the recommendations of the National Academies' "Gathering Storm" report as well as responding to proposals made as part of the President's American Competitiveness Initiative. If passed by the Senate, it could go to conference with the two House bills that came out of the House Science Committee this fall: the Research for Competitiveness Act (H.R.5356) and the Science and Mathematics Education and Competitiveness Act (H.R.5358), and possibly others.

Regarding intellectual property legislation, the most salient bill currently in process is the Patent Reform Act of 2006 (S.3818), introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee in August. The bill tries to limit litigation by providing for a more robust post-grant review process and removing several underlying elements of the litigation system, as well as moving the U.S. to a first-to-file from a first-to-invent rule.

Regarding small business innovative research legislation, the Small Business Administration is up for reauthorization in 2008, and in fall 2006 both the Senate and House proposed reauthorization legislation. The Senate bill (S.3778), introduced in the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee (SB&E), focuses on SBIR/STTR programs specifically, proposing to gradually increase the set-aside for the SBIR program to "no less than 5%" by 2011 and 0.6% immediately for the STTR program, effectively doubling the funding for both.

Patents Depend on Quality Act (H.R. 5096- Introduced 4/5/06): "A bill to amend title 35, United States Code, to modify certain procedures relating to patents." This bill addresses many of the issues covered in the early comprehensive patent reform legislation, with language on injunctions and post-grant review procedures.

These bills had fairly strong bipartisan support, particularly on the Senate side—the greater challenge will be to bridge the gap between the more expansive Senate bill and the very narrowly defined House bills. Then, of course, the bills have to be funded.

Farshid Business Analyst

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