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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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« Differences Between Academia and Industry, Pt. 2 | Main | Oblivious to One Skilled in the Art »

April 4, 2004

Obvious to One Skilled in the Art

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Posted by Derek

Not much time to post tonight. Things have been fairly busy in the research world, with the added burden of some patent filings and some evaluations of other filings from the competition. These only confirm to me that there is no way that I could possibly keep bread on my table as a patent lawyer.

Some of my co-workers might find that a bit odd, since I have the reputation at work of knowing a bit more than usual about the subject, for a medicinal chemist. But that just means that I know enough about it to be an irritant to the attorneys. I can't shake, while thinking about the legal issues, a feeling that all that mental effort could surely be put to some better use.

As no doubt it could, but only with some other species. As with any other field, there is no way to write the rules in such a manner that no one can get around them. Writing a patent is a deadly mixture of drudgery and, well, trickery. You're required to disclose the best mode for realizing your invention, and you'd better do it, too. But you're not required to mount a flashing neon sign pointing to it. And you have to exemplify the things that are at the heart of your claims, to reduce them to practice, as the lingo has it. But there's nothing that says that you can't exemplify lots of other things, too, during which you feel like a cuttlefish spewing ink.

Nope, it's not something I can do for long stretches. I enjoy brief visits into Lawyer Country, but I make sure that I have my return ticket in my pocket at all times. No doubt they'd find it easier if they didn't have to deal with us lab types so much, too. I won't ask; they'd tell me.

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