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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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January 26, 2006

Ah, It's Fine. Just Send the Darn Thing Out Already.

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Posted by Derek

Since I was mentioning the other day how little I enjoy reading (or writing) patents, I thought I'd pass along this item from Greg Aharonian's PatNews mailing list. There are plenty of other people, it seems, whose attentions wander while doing IP work. Take, for example, the luckless 3 inventors from the New York area who filed application US 20030004652, which published about three weeks ago.

They've got a (putatively new) system to monitor animal behavior during drug testing. The abstract starts off by describing:

A  system  and method used to assess animal behavior includes a module having sensors that collects a variety of physical and biological data from a test subject. Interpretation of the data is provided to assess the  test subject's behavior, neurology, biochemistry and physiology. The module  is  useful in observing the effects of a drug on the test animal and providing information on the drug's signature.

OK, fine. I'm pretty sure I've seen things like this before, but who knows, maybe they have something inventive in there. So, you're asking, what are the wonderful features of this new invention? As you'll see, the folks who drafted (and edited) the abstract were asking themselves the same question during the document's preparation. Verbatim, it continues with the following, whose unsteady grammar is the least of its problems:

Another advantage is module's portability that allows it to be used in standard laboratory cages.  (NOT SURE ABOUT THIS PORTABILITY) This portability allows the animal to be tested in its own habitat, that can reduce any erroneous data due to stressing the animal when removed to a test cage.

Proofreading, guys, proofreading. You're going to have a tough time with the novelty and enablement requirements if you tell the patent office what you really think, you know.

Comments (7) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Patents and IP


1. dlib on January 26, 2006 11:10 PM writes...

almost as funny as:

US 6368227



Permalink to Comment

2. Bill Tozier on January 26, 2006 11:14 PM writes...

You know, you made me go back to the NSF grant proposal I just wrote and check, again -- twice -- for comments like that.

Which is useful.

Except there weren't any such comments.

But I'm still worried....

Permalink to Comment

3. Tarzan on January 27, 2006 11:07 AM writes...

from pat # 6368227

Lastly, it should be noted that because pulling alternately on one chain and then the other resembles in some measure the movements one would use to swing from vines in a dense jungle forest, the swinging method of the present invention may be referred to by the present inventor and his sister as "Tarzan" swinging. The user may even choose to produce a Tarzan-type yell while swinging in the manner described, which more accurately replicates swinging on vines in a dense jungle forest. Actual jungle forestry is not required.

Permalink to Comment

4. Monte Davis on January 27, 2006 2:54 PM writes...

Analogous: I did a lot of hired-gun writing and consulting for new drug launches, including a part in the vetting of the (drum roll) package insert. I recall several times when work-in-progress comments like that survived several drafts before anyone else noticed. It signaled sheer fatigue on the 167th draft -- but more than that, a forest/trees perspective problem.

Honest, I understood the concerns and constraints of medical, marketing, and legal participants. But with all three of those mills grinding so fine, few nourishing grains of actual communication survived for the patient, pharmacist or even doctor.

All hail the Triumph of the Process.

Permalink to Comment

5. Andrew Dalke on January 27, 2006 4:46 PM writes...

Whenever I make a parenthetical comment like that I start with an "XXX". Easy to spot, easy to search for.

Permalink to Comment

6. SRC on January 27, 2006 10:58 PM writes...

Whenever I make a parenthetical comment like that I start with an "XXX". Easy to spot, easy to search for.

Low tech. In Word use Insert/Comments. They won't print, unless you force them to, and they're easy to find through View/Comments.

Permalink to Comment

7. Anonymous BMS Researcher on October 17, 2007 6:08 AM writes...

Since much of my work involves coding in Perl, my typical "flag" for such in prose as well as in code is to begin a line containing such with


because Perl is among the programming languages that use the '#' character to denote comments (which are not part of the actual code).

In comp.risks there is a long-standing tradition of stories about such stuff persisting in the final document, for instance getting a contract proposal in Microsoft Word format and discovering the other party left revision tracking enabled so the file contains details of their internal discussions, which they would probably not wish the recipients to see.

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