AUTM Newsbrief
Jan. 27, 2011

Obama mentions inventors and patents in State of the Union
President Barack Obama delivered the 2011 State of the Union Address to a live audience in the House Chambers at the Capitol. President Obama mentioned "innovation" repeatedly. The use of the "innovation" rhetoric is to be expected any more from our elected leaders, but it is typically little more than rhetoric. President Obama did use the word "patent" during his speech, but political leaders can also throw about the grossly overused term "intellectual property," with near reckless abandon, so it would not have been surprising to hear the term in the State of the Union. Of course, the term "intellectual property" is almost always used to refer to copyrights and trademarks, counterfeiting and piracy. "Intellectual property" is rarely, if ever, used by politicians to refer to patents, inventions and innovative technologies.More

Young inventors prompt colleges to revamp rules
The Associated Press via Google News
Tony Brown didn't set out to overhaul his college's policies on intellectual property. He just wanted an easier way of tracking local apartment rentals on his iPhone. The University of Missouri student came up with an idea in class one day that spawned an iPhone application that has had more than 250,000 downloads since its release in March 2009. The app created by Brown and three other undergraduates won them a trip to Apple headquarters along with job offers from Google and other technology companies. But the invention also raised a perplexing question when university lawyers abruptly demanded a 25 percent ownership stake and two-thirds of any profits. Who owns the patents and copyrights when a student creates something of value on campus, without a professor's help?More

California universities feel the squeeze
Bloomberg Businessweek
California's role as the incubator of talent that powers Silicon Valley and Hollywood owes much to a university system that has produced 56 Nobel Prize winners. Now, as Governor Jerry Brown tackles a crippling deficit, his plan to slash higher education spending by 16 percent is raising concerns that the state may be jeopardizing the future of its high-tech and entertainment industries — and by extension the country's growth.More

Butterfly wings offer guiding light for Nanotech Innovation
The Morpho butterfly's highly evolved wings are so unique that scientists at Simon Fraser University (SFU) have teamed up with NanoTech Security to reproduce their iridescent blue coloring for a new anti-counterfeiting technology. A clever pairing of nanotechnology and entomology — the study of insects — used nanoscale microscopic holes that interact with light to reproduce the butterfly's shimmering signature wherever a counterfeit-proof watermark is desired: In bank notes, legal documents, merchandise, concert tickets, stock certificates, visas, passports, and pharmaceutical products, to name a few of the possible uses.More

Supreme Court turns down Vanderbilt University's Cialis patent push
The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition by Vanderbilt University to hear its claim to part of the intellectual property at the core of blockbuster erectile dysfunction drug Cialis. In a case launched more than five years ago, Vanderbilt had claimed that three of its researchers should be listed as co-inventors of taladafil, an enzyme developed in the 1990s and credited to a French Glaxo Inc. scientist. The university had sued Icos Corp., then a stand-alone company but has since been acquired by Indianapolis-based drug giant Eli Lilly, saying its researchers' work in the late 1980s had helped lay the basis for the development of taladafil. More

New method allows more complex paper tests
Laboratory Equipment
Researchers have invented a technique that uses inexpensive paper to make "microfluidic" devices for rapid medical diagnostics and chemical analysis. The innovation represents a way to enhance commercially available diagnostic devices that use paper-strip assays like those that test for diabetes and pregnancy. "With current systems that use paper test strips you can measure things like pH or blood sugar, but you can't perform more complex chemical assays," says Babak Ziaie, a Purdue University professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering."More

Pakistan university designed indigenous gasifier to help generate energy
The News
The Mehran University of Engineering & Technology (MUET) in Pakistan has designed an indigenous gasifier to produce syngas from Thar coal. The project is the result of collaboration between the MUET and the Pakistan Council for Research and Industrial Research lab where fabrication took place. Suhail Soomro, assistant professor at the university's Chemical Engineering Department, said that a group of students from his department had taken the initiative and through research they had produced gasification of Thar coal and other energy resources.More