Patent Dispute Trends: Patent Litigation Down 26 Percent While IPR Up 22 Percent in Q1 of 2017

Patexia.com reports continuing reduction in the filing of suits for patent litigation and continuing increase in the filing of Inter Partes Review (IPR).

Detailed information and graphs on these trends are provided in the Patexia.com article including year-over-year from 2015 on to 2017Q1.  The 2017Q1 data shows:

“In the first quarter of 2017 we saw a continued decline in patent litigation. The district court litigation was down 26 percent to 1,012, compared to 1,346 in Q4 of 2016. And it was down 5 percent year over year (1,067 in Q1 of 2016). For the same period, Inter-Partes Review (IPR) was up 22 percent to 550, compared to 448 in Q4 of 2016. This increase was even sharper year over year. IPR saw a whopping increase of 64 percent in Q1 2017 versus Q1 2016, which saw 335.”

One key statistic related to the IPR process:  “IPR activity per quarter was at an all-time high in Q1 2017. Since its inception in September 2012, IPR has been gaining popularity as a tool to challenge the validity of patents in lawsuits or licensing deals. …”

Related to patent litigation cases:  “Patent litigation in district courts was at its lowest level since 2011. Although the litigation has dropped to pre-AIA levels, it is worth mentioning that post-AIA numbers are generally magnified because of joinder rules. …”

 

 

 

“The Remarkable Potential of Stem Cells” – a Hot Topic in the Biomedical World

“The Remarkable Potential of Stem Cells” by Phil Kesten

The author is Prof. Phil Kesten, Associate Professor of Physics, Santa Clara University (SCU) | Associate Vice Provost, SCU Undergraduate Studies.

This is a very nice article entitled: “The Remarkable Potential of Stem Cells” by Phil Kesten. It is laid out in an interesting and easy to read manner but shows where Stem Cell related therapies are headed and some potential applications.

Stem cell therapies, devices to deliver them, and other related technologies will be a new frontier for many years.  The potential for innovative therapies is huge, but seemingly “simple” problems remain.  One significant problem that I have studied involves retention of the stem cells at the target site after they are delivered to that site.

See the full article at either link in the Santa Clara University “Illuminate” publication of September 9, 2016:

https://legacy.scu.edu/illuminate/?c=23989  or at:  https://lnkd.in/bvu-a_H

The anatomy of a human cell is shown in this figure:

philkesten18-1_stem-cell_illuminate_2016

and Prof. Kesten goes on to say in this article:

Over the past few decades, talk of stem cells has often been in the news. What exactly are stem cells, and why all the excitement? Let’s wonder a bit about the science of cells—and the remarkable potential of stem cells.

All living things are made up of cells. There are more than a trillion cells—perhaps more than 30 trillion—in the human body, including many kinds of specialized cells. Bone cells, nerve cells, skin cells, blood cells … and, yes, stem cells.

All cells are self-contained, with their insides separated from their environment by a cell membrane. This enclosure keeps cytoplasm—a thick, gel-like substance that comprises the bulk of a cell—from leaking out. The cell membrane also allows nutrients to flow in, while keeping out material that might damage the cell.

Within each cell is a nucleus that holds the cell’s genetic material. Most cells also contain mitochondria—tiny organic batteries that serve as the cell’s power supply. And within each cell is a structure called the endoplasmic reticulum, a network of membranes within the cytoplasm that carries material, such as nutrients, throughout the cell.

There are critical differences among various kinds of cells, each having specific jobs and roles to play, for instance, in enabling you to breath, to walk, to fend off diseases. Yet with all this diversity among cell types, at the moment of conception, every living organism starts as a single cell. That cell divides into two, then four, then eight, and so on. And at this stage, when you were just a blob of cells, those were all embryonic stem cells.

The special, critical feature of stem cells is that, as they divide, they begin to differentiate. Some end up as nerve cells, some as blood cells, and some as muscle cells. While those specialized cells can only create more of their own kind of cell when they divide, stem cells give rise to any of the hundreds of kinds of specialized cells in your body.

Adults do have stem cells in their bodies. These adult stem cells are the body’s repair mechanisms. They can fix damaged tissues and organs by regenerating worn out or damaged or diseased cells, no matter what kind of specialized cells they are. Adult stem cells in your bone marrow, for example, can become red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets, which are the cells that make up your blood.

 philkesten18-2_stem-cell_illuminate_2016

 

The real power of stem cells, however, is not simply in their versatility. It is, rather, that stem cells can be grown in a laboratory.

The real power of stem cells, however, is not simply in their versatility. It is, rather, that stem cells can be grown in a laboratory. And even more powerful, in the past few years, scientists have learned how to reprogram specialized cells to become like stem cells. Indeed, the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University for his work on converting mature skin cells into cells that closely resemble stem cells.

Scientists have already been exploring the use of stem cells to treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy, as well as to repair spinal cord and bone injuries. It will certainly be many years before stem therapies are widely available, but we can look forward to a future in which scientists can grow, say, a new liver for a patient whose own liver is failing. A new liver that is a perfect match for that patient, because it is grown from his or her own cells. Stem cell research promises an exciting future for regenerative medicine.

Stanford Again Tops “Most Innovative Universities” Rankings – A Perspective

Having attended Stanford University myself for both a Master’s and PhD in Mechanical Engineering, I always feel a strong sense of pride when I see an article like this one related to “Most Innovative Universities”. Stanford is an amazing place, with so many “best in class” academic capabilities across many diverse fields. However, it is the medicine, science and engineering achievements that always catch my eye. When you look at how Stanford people have conceptualized and developed programs like the Medical Device Innovators series, the idea is always to break down the walls and collaborate across disciplines to identify needs, understand how they might be accomplished, and then develop devices and procedures to meet the goals.

The other thing that I look at is the number and diversity of fabulously successful companies and ideas that have come out of Stanford. The Silicon Valley ecosystem of top Universities, interest and drive to commercialize, and Venture Capital makes the entire area unique.

Here is the article by Thomson Reuters:

Stanford Again Tops “Most Innovative Universities” Rankings

Palo Alto, Calif. — Stanford University again tops this year’s newly released Reuters Top 100 ranking of the world’s most innovative universities, which aims to identify institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and help drive the global economy. MIT and Harvard round out the top three. The second annual rankings use proprietary data and analysis tools from Thomson Reuters to examine a series of patent and research-related metrics. “Stanford held fast to its first place ranking by consistently producing new patents and papers that influence researchers elsewhere in academia and in private industry,” the news serve wrote. The complete rankings are at the link below.
http://www.reuters.com/most-innovative-universities-2016

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phones are Burning/Exploding!!

Two weeks after releasing the Galaxy Note 7 SmartPhones, Samsung is literally and figuratively fighting fires!  They have now recalled the roughly 2.5 Million Galaxy Note 7 that have been distributed (about 1 Million phones sold).  This is clearly a serious safety and reliability issue that should have been identified before any shipments started.  Not only is there the cost associated with the recall, replacement, possible personal injury and property damage, Samsung stock has taken a hit that knocked $2 Billion off of its market value!  The market can be massively punishing and unforgiving for mistakes like this one.

To date, 35 reports of fire/explosion issues have been received by Samsung.  Samsung believes that the problems are confined to fewer than 0.1% of the phones.  Based on a population of 2 Million phones, this would indicate the problems apply to less than 2000 phones.  This is a huge number of failures and a 99.9% reliability (even if the reliability level is even this high) is an unacceptable level in the consumer products world.

We expect these products not only to function reliably but also to be safe.  Battery fire issues with hoverboards in late 2015 basically tanked the sales of that product.

Additional details including the press release can be found here.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/09/02/samsung-note-7-recall-millions-of-phones-to-be-replaced-after-ba/

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Concussion Mitigation in Pro Football with Advances in Helmet Technology

Pro Football players in the NFL are bigger, faster, and stronger than ever before.  All of these characteristics increase the acceleration, force, and energy associated with contact between players.  When this contact occurs to the head it can translate into a concussion or just contribute to an ongoing series of cumulative smaller injuries.

Evidence is mounting that concussions or cumulative injuries have serious long-term effects.  This long-term effect applies not only to football, but also things like battlefield blast loading and similar events.

Discussion on sensor technology and helmet improvements.
Reference articles with further information:

 

 

Liam – the Apple Robot that Disassembles an iPhone in 11 seconds!!

Besides designing, manufacturing, and selling iPhones, Apple is now taking them apart also!  Apple is making a major push to be more green and that means recycling as much as possible the components that go into their phones and other products.

One way that they are trying to reach that lofty recycling goal is by developing highly automated robots to facilitate the disassembly.  The first one on the scene is Liam.  Liam is truly an amazing beast!

Liam is a 29-armed robotic creation that can totally disassemble an iPhone 6 in 11 seconds!!  Now that is fast!  That gives about 350 phones disassembled each hour, or 1.2 Million phones per year (assuming no lunch breaks and no maintenance!!).  You need a few “Liams” to put a dent into the iPhone supply out there.

A great article on this very impressive robotic technology was recently published on Mashable .  Mashable has published some photos and videos (though not at real time!).

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Energy Storage for Renewable Energy Sources is Essential

Renewable energy sources such as Wind and Solar vary significantly in the output power level throughout the day. The peak output from Wind and Solar will generally not align with the peak power demand on the grid from home and business users. Further, the peak output is based on factors such as wind velocity and hours of sunshine that vary widely and that cannot be controlled by the system operators.

From the Design News Article on Dec.29, 2015 written by Charles Murray and entitled: Renewable Energy’s Secret Weapon

As the world moves toward a grand vision of renewable energy, an underappreciated reality is dawning: You can’t do it without storage.

The reason is deceptively simple: Wind turbines can’t produce power when the wind doesn’t blow; solar cells can’t do it when the sun doesn’t shine. Without some form of backup, those intermittent renewable sources can’t play in big numbers on the grid, unless the world is willing to accept instability and blackouts.

That’s where batteries — farm loads of them — could play a role. With coal and nuclear plants rapidly falling out of favor, energy storage is becoming more important, and batteries are increasingly being viewed as the most logical solution. “If you flash forward into the future, we are all going to need an inexpensive way to store lots of energy,” said Jeff Chamberlain, executive director for the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research.

 

Wind Turbine Generator

Racking up Energy

Even among the world’s most knowledgeable energy engineers, no one knows for sure when storage will become critical. Virtually all agree that today, with wind and solar accounting for only about 6% of the US’s power, the time hasn’t arrived yet. But as the number rises — to say, 20% or 30% of the overall power produced — the need will grow. “The curves seem to cross at about 20%,” Chamberlain said. “We know this because Hawaii has exceeded that limit and it is wreaking havoc on their grid.”

Battery farms are seen as a “balancing resource” for the grid, which is why they’re starting to pop up around the world. NEC Energy Solutions , for example, recently sold more than 60 MW of its GSS battery storage systems in the central US, had a hand in developing a 2.4-MW grid energy storage site in Orange County, Calif., and installed an 11-MW system to support a wind farm on the island of Maui. Similarly, Saft delivered its Max+ 20M Intensium battery storage systems to an electrical cooperative in Kotzebue, Alaska, and is providing another system to store electricity at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. It also has teamed with the Kauai Island Park Cooperative in Hawaii to supply lithium-ion batteries into a 12-MW solar energy park.

One common embodiment of such energy storage systems is the so-called “containerized” solution — that is, a trailer full of batteries that can be installed in an urban parking lot or on a rural mountainside. NEC’s system, for example, uses modular, battery-based storage racks in containers measuring as long as 53 ft and weighing up to 140,000 lb. Known as the GBS line, they can store up to 4 MWh of energy and offer up to 4 MW of power. Similarly, Saft’s Intensium Max line can offer as much as 1 MW with continuous discharge power of 500 KW in a unit weighing 16.5 tons.

Material scientists are also developing alternative chemistries for the grid. Ambri Inc., for example, uses pizza-box-sized cells made from three chemical layers — a liquid salt electrolyte sandwiched between a high-density liquid metal and a low-density liquid metal. Ambri’s battery, which operates at 400C, can store up to 1.2 MWh. Others are also looking ahead to new technologies: Ecoult’s UltraBattery, for example, employs an ultracapacitor inside a lead-acid battery chemistry. Also, NEC has entered into an agreement with Eos Energy Storage LLC to produce a zinc hybrid cathode battery.

“In stationary power, there are a number of alternative chemistries that have seen some adoption,” said Lux Research energy analyst Dean Frankel. “But in the past year or so, the majority of systems that have been proposed and installed in the US have been lithium-ion.”

Still, the possibilities are compelling for storage systems of all types. A 2015 forecast from Lux Research predicted that stationary energy storage would rise from about a $1 billion market today to $6 billion by 2020. “We don’t believe there is just one solution to every storage application,” said Roger Lin of NEC Energy Solutions.

Distributed Grid

Indeed, the breadth of potential solutions is emerging, not only in the form of varying chemistries, but also in the format of the storage source. In May, Tesla Motors made its play for the storage market by rolling out a product that can be mounted on a garage wall near a home’s electrical panel. The company said that the unit, known as the Powerwall, is part of Tesla’s effort to wean the world off fossil fuels.

“This is within the power of humanity to do,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “We have done things like this before. It’s not impossible.”

Tesla’s product, which employs lithium-ion battery technology, measures 34 x 51 x 7 inches and costs $3,500 for a 10-kWh of storage. Tesla said it also plans to sell bigger battery blocks for use in commercial and utility applications. Blocks containing 100-kWh of storage could be grouped to create larger systems offering as much as 10 MWh, Musk said.

  1. Energy Storage Growth Projections

Lux Research predicts that stationary storage will rise from a $1 billion market in 2015 to more than $6 billion in 2020.
(Source: Lux Research)

Experts say that either format — home storage or utility-sized systems — can serve as viable grid solutions. “You can think of solar on an individual’s roof as a distributed power plant on the grid,” said Chamberlain of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research. “That’s where we are headed in the future.”

Pronouncements such as those have created a sense of optimism in the storage community, which is why the Energy Storage Association now counts such names as GE Energy Storage, LG Chem, Parker Hannifin, Johnson Controls, Hitachi Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin Advanced Energy Storage, Mitsubishi Electric Power, Samsung, Sharp, and many others among its members.

That’s not to say all is rosy for battery makers. Grid storage is still a nascent market, still struggling to find its way. In 2014, A123 Systems divested itself of its grid storage division. And in 2015, Ambri announced that it had cut a quarter of its staff and had backed off its plans to ship its first commercial grid storage products in 2016. News reports indicated that the company’s engineers were experiencing problems with the battery’s high-temperature seals. Ambri isn’t saying when its first products will finally reach the market.

Still, experts are steadfast in their belief that battery storage will eventually be needed for the electrical grid. “When there’s high demand, there can be a mismatch between the production of electricity and the use of electricity,” Chamberlain said. “During those milliseconds, batteries can act as a buffer.”

Grid storage proponents see it more optimistically. The batteries are more than a buffer, they say. They’re a key to a new way of life. “Once we’re able to rely on renewable energy sources for our power consumption, the top 50% of the dirtiest power generation resources could retire early,” Tesla Motors said in a prepared statement. “We could have a cleaner, smaller, and more resilient energy grid.”

 

 

 

Google Prevails in WAZE Copyright Infringement Suit by PhantomAlert

In the first round of this suit, Google scored at least a temporary victory in that the judge ruled that a copyright claim could not hinge on simple facts of where points of interest are located.

From arstechnica.com :

Google, the owner of the traffic app Waze, has managed to beat back a copyright lawsuit filed by lesser-known rival PhantomAlert.
Back in September 2015 PhantomAlert sued Google over allegations of copyright infringement. Google purchased Waze in June 2013 for over $1 billion. PhantomAlert alleged that, after a failed data-sharing deal between itself and Waze collapsed in 2010, Waze apparently stole PhantomAlert’s “points of interest” database.

In a judicial order filed earlier this month, the San Francisco-based federal judge found that PhantomAlert could not allege a copyright claim on simple facts of where different places actually are.

As US Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero wrote, granting Google’s motion to dismiss:

It is apparent from the allegations in the Complaint that Plaintiff’s Points of Interest are inherently factual, involving “traffic conditions, speed restrictions, and police-monitors,” that is, objective facts that can be discovered and reported. Compl. ¶ 17. The Supreme Court has made clear that facts are not copyrightable, though the creativity associated with the selection and arrangement of those facts in a compilation may be protectable (as discussed below). See Feist, 499 U.S. at 347-48. This rule applies even when the “facts” are inaccurate, as was the case in Feist, where the defendant had copied a handful of false listings that were “seeded” in the plaintiff’s directory. Id. at 344.
While it is possible to assert a copyright over a set of facts that are arranged or organized in a particular way, the court found that PhantomAlert had not done that. As Judge Spero continued:

Here, Plaintiff has not alleged any specific facts that suggest that the arrangement of the information in its Points of Interest database is characterized by any originality. There are no allegations that the data is organized into categories, for example, or that there is anything creative about the way the data is displayed. Further, to the extent Plaintiff alleges the information in the database is edited so as to alert the driver of the Point of Interest before reaching the actual location, see Compl. ¶ 22, there appears to be no creativity involved in these changes. As discussed above, the arrangement of the Points of Interest on the map merely effectuates the purpose of the database; presumably any app intended to alert drivers of the types of points of interest contained in Plaintiff’s database would make very similar changes.

However, the judge will allow PhantomAlert to file an amended complaint no later than mid-January 2016.

This article comes from the arstechnica  Article

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/12/judge-siding-with-google-refuses-to-shut-down-waze-in-wake-of-alleged-theft/

Also note that the link to DocumentCloud.org
Links directly to the Legal Document with the full opinion  of the judge at:
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2650543-Phantomalert.html#document/p19/a268278

Study: Dissolvable Stent as Good as Conventional Version

See the full article at:  Dissolvable Stent as Good as Conventional Version

Bare metal stents were the first generation in stent technology.  I got involved in medical devices in the mid-1990’s with a number of projects related to radial force, flexibility, and fatigue of these devices.  These stents improved rapidly in terms of efficacy and other parameters.

Drug-eluting stents came along next to further reduce the incidence of restenosis.

Now we have bioabsorbable stents! They are made of a bioabsorbable polymer and are intended to be delivered at full strength, and then gradually degrade over time so that nothing remains.

This study shows a target lesion failure rate of 7.8% for the Abbott Absorb stent.  This rate is comparable to the best of the permanent stents.

Study: Dissolvable stent as good as conventional version