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Patent Troll Going After Alzheimer's Researchers

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the king-of-trolls dept.

Medicine 116

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Nature News: "The website of the Alzheimer's Institute of America (AIA) doesn't reveal much about the organization, but portrays it as committed to supporting research and patients. Among people who study Alzheimer's disease, however, the AIA, based in St Louis, Missouri, is best known for filing lawsuits against companies and researchers — a practice that scientists say could hamper the progress of research into combating the dreaded disease."

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116 comments

I fucked your grandma! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723614)

But she doesn't remember it. lol

Re:I fucked your grandma! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723662)

congratz on getting first post anyway

Re:I fucked your grandma! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35724136)

Shut up, grandpa! You're drunk again!

Re:I fucked your grandma! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35728326)

Yeah, that's cool and all man, but check out my doubles.

Poetic justice (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35723652)

Can somebody equip an Alzheimer's patient with a few Uzi's, send him into these guys office, and tell him the office is full of Nazi's? He can claim he is not responsible for his actions due to his Alzheimer's, and these bastards can get the justice they so richly deserve.

I joined an Alzheimer's support group, but I keep forgetting to go to the meetings...

Re:Poetic justice (5, Interesting)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 3 years ago | (#35723726)

Can somebody equip an Alzheimer's patient with a few Uzi's

There is no need. The judges that will oversee these cases will have no problem seeing the absurdity of this patent trolls claim's due to the proximity of Alzheimers to their own mortality. They only have a problem seeing patent/copyright trolls for what they are when it affects the young/poor.

Re:Poetic justice (1)

the_hellspawn (908071) | about 3 years ago | (#35723964)

The judge is a US judge yes? He/She is already paid off by the trolls and research and science will be held back even longer. Yeah! U.S. copyright law is so cash!

Re:Poetic justice (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 3 years ago | (#35724012)

The trouble is that the damage has already been done. So what if the defendant wins against the AIA, that defendant has already had to shell out substantial money to defend themselves, money that could have been used for research.

Re:Poetic justice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35728374)

Common law dictates that the loser of the case has to pay the lawyer fees of the winner.

Re:Poetic justice (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 3 years ago | (#35729484)

Easy solution shift the research to countries where the loser pays in court. It doesn't even have to be the actual research just the fiscal headquarters of the research. Nothing like loser pays to really quieten down patent trolls.

Re:Poetic justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35729882)

We should have a law that says that if a defendant wins, the person who sued has to pay all costs.

Re:Poetic justice (1)

TavisJohn (961472) | about 3 years ago | (#35724808)

How about making all naturally occurring DNA sequences something that CAN'T be patented?

Re:Poetic justice (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 3 years ago | (#35726218)

Well, then you have to go about defining "naturally."

Lets start. I promise you'll see soon what a quagmire such a simple suggestion really is...

Re:Poetic justice (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35729230)

They don't have a patent on that sequence occurring in a human being. They have a patent on the concept of putting that same sequence into a mouse. As I said elsewhere, that's like having a patent on the concept of crossing a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever to create a Labradoodle, but whatever.

Re:Poetic justice (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | about 3 years ago | (#35730290)

Well, the concept of putting gene X into organism Y is an obvious concept to even a minimally trained molecular biologist, so it should always be unpatentable.

Potentially, you might allow patenting a specific organism (like you can do with some breeds), but that would be pretty pointless since creating them is so easy.

Re:Poetic justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35724060)

I wouldn't recommend this. The place on their website in Florida isn't where they actually are located. AIA is apparently actually in Kansas City according to the very helpful gentleman at the other end of the phone on their website. The false address leading to an actual doctor's office that does Alzheimer's research doesn't sit well with me. I'd almost would like to see DOJ take a closer look at this one. NIH's involvement should get it the needed attention that it deserves.

On a side note, how much would it suck to be born with this DNA sequence and have your parents sued for creating you and infringing on their patent on that sequence? Can't we claim prior art? XD

Re:Poetic justice (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35724326)

Wait... why were you calling them? Were you actually planning on going in armed with automatic weapons?!? For God's sake, I was joking man! Please, please don't take my suggestion seriously!!!

And by the way, what is their real address? Because I have a, uh, friend who wants to know...

Re:Poetic justice (1)

AIA Foundation (2034750) | about 3 years ago | (#35729670)

My family started Alzheimer's Institute back in 1992 because our grandmother was afflicted with the disease. Out of our own pocket we funded a scientist's work in the field when no other pharma company or bio pharmaceutical was willing to invest. The scientist was and still is a close family friend. Because of his research he discovered Swedish Mutation which led for the first time the medical field to have a mice model to test drugs against and look for a cure. We are very open and in fact have a disease modifying drug starting phase II trials in the clinic that looks to be able to clear beta amyloid. AIA has an ownership in Archer pharmaceuticals which is developing this cure. Unfortunately to get the drug to Phase III trials will cost over $300M. We look to our license as a way to raise funding. But companies like Jackson Labs is not interested in finding a cure but only growing there business similar to the way big government grows. They want to enjoy their big salaries and paid for trips around the country in the cloak of trying to help the field. Furthermore no one at AIA has drawn a salary. What little money AIA does receive goes to funding litigation efforts to let the industry know they can not steal from us and hopefully raise the needed money for next phase development. This is very much a David and Goliath story. Just remember pharma companies are not interested in finding a cure to the disease, because that would destroy their profit structure. They want a drug that has to continually be purchased thereby increasing their stock price. We hope with careful consideration you might think deferentially about what might really be happening behind the scenes. Perhaps even to help support our effort to finding a cure. Sincerely, AIA Foundation

Re:Poetic justice (1)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | about 3 years ago | (#35724664)

I think better justice would be if the Tolls developed Alzheimer's themselves(or someone close) & had to watch(and forget) their minds go to pot, when if they hadn't been such dicks they'd have been cured & died of something less horrific.

Re:Poetic justice (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#35726138)

The Joe Stack model isn't a bad idea. After all, if Boomers are going to die anyway they can make that count too.

If there are no intolerable consequences there isn't much reason NOT to waste people who really piss you off.

What shouldn't be patentable (5, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 3 years ago | (#35723684)

The suit concerns an AIA patent on a human DNA sequence used in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.

This.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723774)

Why is this even patentable? Isn't a human DNA sequence a fact? It sounds like getting a patent on the atomic structure of lead or something.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#35724072)

I remember watching a documentary on some sea creature that was being studied for possible medical uses. In the end, some genes from it were patented. From the creature that already existed.

Reminds me of a cartoon called I Am Weasel. I.R. Baboon, the dumb character, is jealous that I.M. Weasel, the smart character (as a caveman) just invented the wheel. I.R. then picks up a rock and announces that he has invented the rock.

It was a joke back then.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 3 years ago | (#35724398)

It's slimy as hell, but they're not patenting the original sequence, they're patenting the sequence as modified for optimal function in the new organism, and making the argument that the DNA sequence is the blueprint to a machine (which it is.) Usually this new organism is the mouse.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (5, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 years ago | (#35723864)

It's not legal. Congress passed a provision in the 80's to allow companies to patent genetically modified crops so someone couldn't simply steal some seeds and resell them. The provision does not cover animals, and certainly not human DNA. The courts have continually failed to distiguish between the 2 and since congress sees the united states ecenomic future and being the worlds patent troll, they go right along with this shameful practice. There are even several AIDS drugs that were derived directly from blood samples taken from desperately poor prosititutes in Africa. They actually patented the poor womens entire DNA sequence. If anything gets you sent to hell, it's this sort of crap.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (2)

PFI_Optix (936301) | about 3 years ago | (#35723934)

After reading TFA, it sounds to me like the issue isn't with the use of the gene, but with the use of genetically modified rats, which should be protected under the same laws as GM crops. The article indicates the patent is actually on the "mouse models" and not the gene itself.

Not defending the suit, just playing trolls' advocate for a moment.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35724024)

Not just troll's advocate, but this should represent patents itself. If patents are good for technological innovation, why shouldn't it be good for medical innovation? I say these patents should be allowed. So, a few million people die miserably from AD. That shouldn't stand in the way of innovators being paid for their inventions. How many other fields suffer due to patents also, causing indirect loss of life? No one cries for them.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 years ago | (#35724338)

Perhaps, but at the very least if YOUR DNA leads to some mega-conglomerate making billions of dollars the leas they could do for you is, I dunno, give YOU the drug?

I'll leave the arguments about plants and animals to someone else.... But Human DNA? No... I should own my own DNA sequence in perpetuity. No one should be able to patent it. I shouldn't be able to sell it. Period.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | about 3 years ago | (#35725394)

I don't think you should be able to own a gene, but YOUR particular combination of genes is so unlikely to happen again that it can be considered unique. Each person should own their own genetic combination, and any use of that combination or a derivative of it for profit should entitle that person to a share of the profits.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | about 3 years ago | (#35724432)

There's solid reasoning behind protecting a patent on GM lab animals. I'm no geneticist, but I would assume that there is a significant investment involved in splicing human genes into a rat in such a way that they will reliably develop early onset AD. If they aren't able to profit from that investment, you remove one very useful motive in developing such things.

That said, there's got to be a point at which we say "okay, so you made another GM rat with human genes. The process for this is well-established and all you did was repeat something that's been done dozens of times before."

A fair compromise might be to adjust time limits on patents according to their topic. Genetic patents using existing genes should not be protected as long as a truly engineered/synthetic gene (I've not heard of any actually existing, but it's only a matter of time).

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (1)

Sabriel (134364) | about 3 years ago | (#35725660)

If they aren't able to profit from that investment, you remove one very useful motive in developing such things.

The other very useful motive being, of course, not dying of Alzheimers (and other similar diseases).

Patents: a method and system for externalizing the costs of enforcing a monopoly that would otherwise require the employment and use of thugs and/or mercenaries.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (1)

RDW (41497) | about 3 years ago | (#35726854)

'That said, there's got to be a point at which we say "okay, so you made another GM rat with human genes. The process for this is well-established and all you did was repeat something that's been done dozens of times before."'

Which is pretty much the case here. In the patent (which dates from 1998 - transgenic mice had been around since the early 80s) they come right out and say it:

http://patents.com/us-5850003.html [patents.com]

'Standard techniques are used for recombinant nucleic acid methods, polynucleotide synthesis, cell culture, and transgene incorporation (e.g., electroporation, microinjection, lipofection). Generally enzymatic reactions, oligonucleotide synthesis, and purification steps are performed according to the manufacturer's specifications. The techniques and procedures are generally performed according to conventional methods in the art and various general references which are provided throughout this document. The procedures therein are believed to be well known in the art and are provided for the convenience of the reader. '

And even more vaguely:

'The invention can be practiced using essentially any applicable homologous gene targeting strategy known in the art.'

All this is just a way of wrapping up a discovered DNA sequence variant and a successful transgenic experiment done with it (using standard techniques) into an 'invention' that can be patented. It's an important experiment, but is it really an invention? Similar tricks are used to package discoveries as 'genetic tests' (even though the test is something a graduate student could come up with in their lunch hour by pasting the sequence into a primer design program and clicking 'OK').

Real Life takes the lead! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#35724206)

There are even several AIDS drugs that were derived directly from blood samples taken from desperately poor prosititutes in Africa. They actually patented the poor womens entire DNA sequence. If anything gets you sent to hell, it's this sort of crap.

"Aaaaand Real Life squeezes past Dystopian Sci-Fi on the inside! What a move Carl!"

"You said it Jeff, it's gonna take some sick shit for Team Sci-Fi to retake the lead after a ballsy pass like that."

Re:Real Life takes the lead! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 3 years ago | (#35724424)

What about growing people for organ harvesting? Or moving up the date of an execution for the same?

...

Damn you, China!

This is probably why science fiction has moved back to being positive, and on to transhumanism.

Re:Real Life takes the lead! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35725722)

Ooooh! A pileup in turn 2 on the East side of the track. The Red Flag is out. It looks like some drivers won't walk away...

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35724334)

So, if these poor prostitutes have children, is that patent infringement, or can we stand on 3 million years of prior art?

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35724362)

There are even several AIDS drugs that were derived directly from blood samples taken from desperately poor prosititutes in Africa.

Horrible, if true. I couldn't find anything on this with a quick Google. Got a cite?

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 years ago | (#35723886)

Prior art being unpatentable, the playing of Go is not much widely suggested. In fact they don't much suggest anything easy, simple, or relatively available. Go is different than Sudoku and crosswords because it relies on mental processing more than pure mental recall; you have to analyze the board and determine what to recall all over the place, and then analyze various combinations, possible permutations, advantages, disadvantages... it's rather complex mental processing.

It's somewhat well established that mental activity keeps the brain healthy, and it's been suggested that such things prevent parkinsons and alzheimers; hell, even basic motor skills are considered helpful, so much that playing guitar or piano or using chopsticks all are known to at least partially protect the mind from decay to some level. Go is, of course, one of the more mentally challenging activities out there, demanding both logical and abstract reasoning, analytical calculation and recall; while piano or guitar has the added advantage of keeping fine control of the body nimble (Go is basically all mental, while instruments are physically and mentally demanding).

None of this shit is profitable.

I can't sell you a never-ending prescription to Go, or put you under nursing care of a piano home. You buy a piano or a guitar or a Go set (or get on KGS or IGS or Dragon for free) and you play.

Why in the hell would I want to fund long-running research into this, much less publicly suggest it, or encourage it? It doesn't make me any money, and might solve a problem before I can make money off the problem.

It turns out you can get patents on human DNA sequences for some reason. It also turns out you can sue researchers such that the only researchers that make any progress are dependent on paying fees to you or being sued into the ground. Making money off other peoples' work by being a gatekeeper providing no value is an amazing way to get rich, and it doesn't even help anyone, and you get to poise yourself as some amazing benevolent entity with access to (read: control of) all this innovative knowledge.

They can all go to hell.

Re:What shouldn't be patentable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35724420)

Yeah, this doesn't make any sense. It's not a new gene sequence that was put together from scratch and found to have useful applications, it's one that already existed and that was actually in use in the relevant humans for generations as they lived their lives. If that's not "prior art", then what the hell is? This is a discovery, not an invention. It's like getting a patent on the wheel.

This sucks (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 3 years ago | (#35723706)

I had a great joke for this thread, but I forgot what it was.

Re:This sucks (1)

peterhil (472239) | about 3 years ago | (#35724076)

The joke was probably about not invented here (NIH) syndrome, as the Jackson Laboratory asked their funder, US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to assume defence for them in the case. But yes, I agree. DNA being patentable really, really sucks.

When life is patented, only outlaws will live (0, Troll)

Ant P. (974313) | about 3 years ago | (#35723720)

These patents are valid only in Fuckupistan (the US), right? No problem in that case; nobody would be able to afford the fruits of the research anyway.

The sweedish family has no rights to their genes? (1)

Script Cat (832717) | about 3 years ago | (#35723768)

All these organizations are fighing over rights to a discovery. They did not invent this gene they found it existing in the wild. If anyone deserves owership of it, it's the human family in sweeden who contain the gene as part of their person and suffer from its effects. I'm sure this family just wants altimers cured.

Re:The sweedish family has no rights to their gene (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35723822)

Sweeden, yah, where artificial sweedeners were invented!

Re:The sweedish family has no rights to their gene (1)

Script Cat (832717) | about 3 years ago | (#35724100)

Yeah it's pretty bad, sorry about that. It's a work computer and stupid IE7 doesn't have the auto spell checker like fire fox. No red lines and everything's OK right.

Good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723814)

This is good. The trolls are (stupidly) getting into areas people really care about (rather than software innovation) and the backlash could be very useful in driving change.

Re:Good (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35723998)

That's a very good point. It is egregious abuses of the patent law like this that might finally spur congress to finally fix the patent laws. Pretty much anyone can relate to the argument, "Wait, you're suing people for using a sequence of information that has been naturally occurring in people for hundreds of years? That can't be right! Why is that even patentable in the first place?" And any jury is definitely going to sympathize with the Alzheimer's sufferers, regardless of what the law says.

Re:Good (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 3 years ago | (#35724092)

Unfortunately, while that sounds like a reasonable idea, the courts have started making a distinction between subject matter. For instance the validity of business method patents were at issue Bilsky case. Give how substantially similar a business method is to a software algorithm most people believed that any ruling on this case would be directly applicable to software patents. The Supreme Court however intentionally dropped the ball by narrowly defined the terms of their ruling so as to exclude software patents from the scope leaving the matter for a future case.

Re:Good (1)

sdguero (1112795) | about 3 years ago | (#35724712)

Hopeful but I fear its a naive wish. There are too many lawyers nowadays and IP law is too big of business now for any reasonable change.

Meanwhile, AIA CEO Darl McBride ... (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 3 years ago | (#35723880)

... demanded a $799 license fee from every sufferer of Alzheimer's Disease, since he owns the copyrights to the disease.

Darl: "How dare you develop that disease without paying me first!"

Re:Meanwhile, AIA CEO Darl McBride ... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 years ago | (#35723902)

... demanded a $799 license fee from every sufferer of Alzheimer's Disease, since he owns the copyrights to the disease.

Darl: "How dare you develop that disease without paying me first!"

They all just forgot.

Re:Meanwhile, AIA CEO Darl McBride ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723932)

There's this thing called karma ... And irony for those that believe in a God.

Either way, it might take some time, decades maybe, but it will come back to bite them in the ass.

AIA website looks trollish too... (1)

Acetylene5 (576717) | about 3 years ago | (#35723914)

the AIA website [alzheimersinstitute.com] looks rather trollish too, as there's not much content for an organization which claims to "support research aimed at making significant gains in both scientific knowledge and improved healthcare for those living with Alzheimer's Disease, brain trauma or any memory disorder." Lots of the tabs on the main page lead to a temp.php which claims they're "working to update our website and anticipate having the information you've requested avalaible online soon". The copyright on the website is 2009... that's a long time to work on a update #dukenukem

Wait (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35723918)

Shouldn't the AIA also be suing the Swedish family that has the gene? They are using it all the time, without permission, and their offspring are definitely profiting from it! A patent is a patent; it should cover every use of the patented method or device! Or perhaps you could just admit that maybe a sequence of genes that has occurred naturally for hundreds of years shouldn't be patentable in the first place...

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723952)

Because the patent is in the US and the family is in Sweden.

Re:Wait .... All Imports (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 3 years ago | (#35724234)

All imports from all countries should be banned because some employees creating those products will come down with unlicensed cases of Alzheimers.

Re:Wait .... All Imports (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35724288)

Reductio ad absurdum is a valid debating technique because it illustrates well the real question: Where should we draw the line in enforcing a patent that is so clearly and obviously not in the public interest?

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35725578)

"Shouldn't the AIA also be suing the Swedish family that has the gene?"

They won't as it would bring attention to prior art that would invalidate their patent

Patent on human genes ... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 years ago | (#35723942)

This is why any form of patent on naturally occurring genes is complete and utter bullshit.

Is AIA also suing the Swedish family in which they found this mutation? Because, they're clearly infringing on the patent.

There is no way that it makes sense to be able to patent parts of someone else's DNA. This doesn't do anything to "further innovation" or any of the things people say patents are for ... it lets some idiot patent something he found (not created), sell it to a 3rd party, and then that 3rd party prevents other people from using it for research. DNA is a "fact" not an "invention".

In this case, I'd like to know which takes precedence .. the NIH requirement to share the mice, or this absurd "patent".

This is just so wrong.

Re:Patent on human genes ... (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 3 years ago | (#35724274)

It's no more wrong than patenting heart muscle and suing everyone who's alive except lawyers, who are all heartless. With the current patent system, it could happen!

Re:Patent on human genes ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 years ago | (#35724324)

It's no more wrong than patenting heart muscle and suing everyone who's alive except lawyers, who are all heartless. With the current patent system, it could happen!

I can see that if you develop a mechanism to create heart muscles from scratch (and using mechanisms other than what the body does), that should be patentable. That's a process, and an invention.

But, if you patent the heart muscle that I already have in me, then the patent system has gone horribly wrong and the whole notion of patents has become absurd.

Medical facts should not be patentable. A process or a device to address a medical condition or defect, sure -- provided you're not patenting the basic biology. But the physical makeup of the parts of my body? No bloody way.

I would like to think your scenario explicitly can't be something which would happen.

Re:Patent on human genes ... (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 3 years ago | (#35725572)

This is why any form of patent on naturally occurring genes is complete and utter bullshit.

Is AIA also suing the Swedish family in which they found this mutation? Because, they're clearly infringing on the patent.

Actually, they wouldn't be infringing the patent (which is also why the naturally occurring genes in the Swedish family aren't anticipatory prior art). The patent claims require that the gene exist in isolation from any nucleic acids, and also require an immortalized mammalian cell line. Neither of those exist in nature, since that Swedish family is neither immortal, nor has DNA strands that are so short that they're a single gene.

Re:Patent on human genes ... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#35729666)

The gene can't exist in isolation AND be part of an immortal cell line. The cells need other genes. If a member of that family gets cancer, they might (in theory) be in violation as they would then have a line of immortal cells containing that gene.

I say of that form of Alzheimer's should sue AIA for not keeping "their" gene out of the general population.

patentdead usury systems to be banished forever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723958)

because, for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way.....

the genuine native americans had no (0) history of violence, until the queens' holycostal real sex religious 'training'/exterminations began. they still have no words for what happened. they do have hopes of seeing us survive/thrive, after the final chosen ones holycost ends,,,, again?

genuine native americans must have a vote in the UN, our support etc..., to go with their recent political aspirations?

disarm. leave. that's the sentiment now.

Lawyer scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35723972)

They obviously paid too much for the patent to start with, hoping that a drug would be developed (by someone else) off it's back so that they could then extract an exorbitant rent from it. This didn't happen, and as it is about to run out of patent protection in a few years they are trying to extract any money they can. It is a bit obvious and desperate, and probably instigated by the AIA company owners desperate to get a return. Consequently the lawsuit won't be thought out or funded properly, but it will in the short term divert funds from actually useful research.

What it probably is in fact is a scam by a lawfirm to suck the last of the money out of the shell of AIA and it's real owners, in the owners vain hope of actually making back some money.

Boneitis (1)

JohnHegarty (453016) | about 3 years ago | (#35723976)

Fry: Boneitis? That's a funny name for a horrible disease.
80s Guy: There was no cure at the time. A drug company came close, but I arranged a hostile takeover and sold off all the assets. Made a cool hundred mil.

Evil Alien Trolls seek to conquer Earth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35724002)

Aliens from another dimension seek to take over the Earth! Fortunately, they aren't ready to cross over and fear the rapid advancement of human culture and technology might make humanity too strong to defeat.

Unfortunately, these aliens have a plan. A few can cross over and possess uncaring humans possessing the seeds of massive greed inside their hearts. Perverting the once-well intentioned copyright laws these possessed individuals seek to slow or destroy human advancement for the eventual enslavement of the human race, led by these corrupted individuals.

Given that the possessed are able to regenerate thanks to their alien symbiosis--surviving even bullets to the head or chainsaw dismemberment--and can only be truly killed by fire they are dubbed Trolls. Hopefully, a secret, humanitarian organization will discover the truth of this foul plot and begin construction of hand held flamethrowers plus car-installed napalm rockets to rid the world of these selfish abominations!

This is a good thing (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about 3 years ago | (#35724016)

The best way to get reform of the patent system is for the patent trolls to have at it.

Make a nuisance of yourself that is so obvious that even the most corrupt politician could see that it affects their future campaign contributions and their best buddies' businesses.

Go crazy guys!

Re:This is a good thing (1)

dltaylor (7510) | about 3 years ago | (#35724208)

Their "best buddies" are the patent trolls, plus the others with a vested interest in the scam, dishing out campaign contributions. Constituents? In the business, those are known as the "marks".

Re:This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35724436)

(in reply to... er, the guy/gal above dltaylor): This.

And while they're "go[ing] crazy," let the population of those hanging on by their fingernails dwindle. By the time the "corrupt politician" takes the leadership office, there's nobody (not literally) left to follow. Brilliant!

I truly hope... (1)

mholve (1101) | about 3 years ago | (#35724068)

...that no one here ever has to see a loved one suffer from this disease. Of course, statistics will ensure that at least several will.

My dad was diagnosed with it, and it progressed at a frightening rate (about half the average time) before passing away due to a complication.

To watch someone you know and love lose a little bit more of themselves every day is heartbreaking in every sense of the word. When your own parent doesn't even know who you are after 30-40 years (38 in my case), you're just at a complete loss. At first, the memory loss is a little weird but you chalk it up to typical aging. Then the behavior (dementia and aggression) starts getting more and more palpable. Eventually, you'll have to put them in managed care because it's just too much to deal with in a family home (e.g. waking up in the middle of the night with said parent nowhere to be found). Heavy medication near the end and lots of love is about all you can do.

I wish nothing but the WORST for AIA. Scumbags.

same address (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35724248)

By a pure coincidence perhaps the Roskamp Instritute has the same address (http://www.rfdn.org/about.html).
It seems to be funded by a developer of senior living facilities. Would there be a benefit for a devloper of a senior living facilities from a cure for Alzhemer's?

Shout out to 4-chan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35724340)

Where's anonymouse (sic) when you want them?

Similar case over a breast cancer gene (2)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 3 years ago | (#35724388)

The EFF is fighting a similar battle over a patent on a gene that increases the risk of breast cancer. Appeals Court Hears Argument in the "Breast Cancer Gene" Case [eff.org]

Because Myriad owned the patents, testing on these two genes could only take place in Myriad’s own labs – meaning that others could not develop tests on those genes, depriving women from alternative (and cheaper) tests...in March 2010, the district court found in the plaintiffs’ favor and invalidated the patents....

To steal (and modify) a line from The Onion (1)

SirDrinksAlot (226001) | about 3 years ago | (#35724406)

Patent Troll Going After Alzheimer's Researchers this week, every week.

Original headline: Nursing home patient excited to be going home today, every day.

When I grow up I want to become a patent troll... (1)

lordmetroid (708723) | about 3 years ago | (#35724458)

I wonder how it come that some people become patent trolls? I can't imagine anyone's childhood dream was; "when I am big, I am going to be a lawyer, a POWERFUL! lawyer that will sue everyone I know and anyone I can find".

Probably, these people are forced to become patent troll by their financial circumstance, we should not be angry at them. They deserve our pity and help from their awful situation that has lead them to live a life of a destructive harbringer of everything good and cuddly.

Re:When I grow up I want to become a patent troll. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35724612)

No, they want to be able to afford blowjobs from attractive women (or men, as the case may be). So do I, but I don't go around screwing other people over in order to achieve that goal. That's sort of like saying, "Sure, he killed people and stole their money, but he was only doing it because he was broke!" Or perhaps I'm simply not recognizing your attempt at sarcasm...

Clarification (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35724554)

Ok, so the patent is not on the gene itself, but for that gene expressed in mice. So the method of splicing the gene into mice may be patentable. Did they actually invent gene sequencing and gene splicing, or was that developed by the NIH? Even if the method is theirs, they are claiming royalties not only on their method, but on all descendants of any mice ever created by their method? Isn't that kind of like the first guy to cross a Poodle with a Labrador Retriever demanding royalties on every Labradoodle ever sold, including those unrelated to his own dogs?

Can we please stop this shit? (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | about 3 years ago | (#35724850)

I'm so tired of this crap. The Greek's stole from the Egyptians. The Romans from the Greeks. Great artists always imitate and copy from their predecessors so they can learn--Science and Technology should be no different. Progress is going to crawl to a greedy halt if we keep up this patent bullcrap. Ultimately society becomes a better place when people do things for the greater good. Thank god Penicillin wasn't patented. Putting a patent on a strand of DNA is ridiculous. I just wish I was old enough to have thought of patenting the patent process.

Related? (1)

RdeCourtney (2034578) | about 3 years ago | (#35724972)

So the address for the AIA is: 2040 Whitfield Avenue Sarasota, Florida 34243 U.S.A.

This is the same as the RosKamp Institute, http://www.rfdn.org/ [rfdn.org] another neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorder operation... related??

Huhu interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35725186)

From TFA "Michael Mullan, a biomedical researcher who is now head of the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota, Florida, patented the sequence in 1995, then sold it to the AIA."

A little bit of googling shows that the AIA is affiliated with Archer Pharmaceuticals: "Archer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Archer) was founded in 2008 and specializes in targeted drug discovery for Alzheimer’s disease. Led by Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer Michael Mullan, M.B.B.S., Ph.D. and Chief Technical Officer and Associate Chief Scientific Officer Fiona Crawford, Ph.D."

The AIA is also related to the Roskamp Institute: "The foundation for the Institute’s work was set more than a decade ago by Roskamp’s two lead researchers, Drs. Michael Mullan and Fiona Crawford. They were key members of a pioneering team of scientists who, in the early 1990s, discovered that the onset of Alzheimer’s was directly related to the accumulation of a protein called ß-amyloid." The staff page lists about 15 people.

And then that http://www.sptimes.com/2003/02/20/TampaBay/Alzheimer_s_research_.shtml [sptimes.com] and that http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v425/n6961/full/425889a.html [nature.com].

I would not be surprised if the institute is running out of money and they are trying to make a quick buck in settlements. The guy has published at a high level but as far as I understand he was neither the lead nor the senior investigator on the initial study so I don't understand how he could have sold the rights to a foundation that he obviously created just for the purpose of suing.

Hamper WHAT? (1)

jonadab (583620) | about 3 years ago | (#35725546)

> a practice that scientists say could hamper the progress of research into combating the dreaded disease

Progress? Into combating Alzheimer's Disease? What progress?

I haven't seen any progress on that front. At all. Alzheimer's is notoriously intractable. Every few years there's a story in the news about some new medical research into Alzheimer's, but it always comes to nothing. Aluminum pots? Not relevant after all. Amyloid inhibitors? Useless. Beta carotine? Apparently unrelated. Ginko? Ineffective. Just about the only reliable way to *avoid* Alzheimer's, that we've discovered so far, is to die young from something else. Sign us all up for that, right?

I predict every single currently valid patent will expire, and then all the patents that are valid by the time that happens will expire, and we won't know anything significant about Alzheimer's Disease that we didn't already know in the seventies. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I ain't holdin' my breath.

Only harmful for Alzheimer? (1)

TiZon (1951856) | about 3 years ago | (#35725606)

"a practice that scientists say could hamper the progress of research into combating the dreaded disease." I think this is something that we can extrapolate to every field. This is why we need to get rid of them...

dude. (1)

kikito (971480) | about 3 years ago | (#35725770)

Were did these guys come from? A comic book from the 70s?

Do they also twitch their moustaches and laugh maniacally?

Sue all these bastards (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 3 years ago | (#35726004)

Just patent Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine and Thymine and sue these bastard patent trolls out of the market! Lets just get this done and over with.

I worked in the medial industry and seen the amount of stress and hardship chronic illness causes to the sick and their families. Its sad that all this trolling is preventing potentially beneficial treatments. I'll bet the CEO of some of these patent trolls truly don't give a shit. We can only be so kind as to feel the same about them.

Re:Sue all these bastards (1)

AIA Foundation (2034750) | about 3 years ago | (#35729616)

Dear failedlogic, My family started Alzheimer's Institute back in 1992 because our grandmother was afflicted with the disease. Out of our own pocket we funded a scientist's work in the field when no other pharma company or bio pharmaceutical was willing to invest. The scientist was and still is a close family friend. Because of his research he discovered Swedish Mutation which led for the first time the medical field to have a mice model to test drugs against and look for a cure. We are very open and in fact have a disease modifying drug starting phase II trials in the clinic that looks to be able to clear beta amyloid. AIA has an ownership in Archer pharmaceuticals which is developing this cure. Unfortunately to get the drug to Phase III trials will cost over $300M. We look to our license as a way to raise funding. But companies like Jackson Labs is not interested in finding a cure but only growing there business similar to the way big government grows. They want to enjoy their big salaries and paid for trips around the country in the cloak of trying to help the field. Furthermore no one at AIA has drawn a salary. What little money AIA does receive goes to funding litigation efforts to let the industry know they can not steal from us and hopefully raise the needed money for next phase development. This is very much a David and Goliath story. Just remember pharma companies are not interested in finding a cure to the disease, because that would destroy their profit structure. They want a drug that has to continually be purchased thereby increasing their stock price. We hope with careful consideration you might think deferentially about what might really be happening behind the scenes. Perhaps even to help support our effort to finding a cure. Sincerely, AIA Foundation

So AIA, have you ever had Alzheimers? (1)

mastermind7373 (1932626) | about 3 years ago | (#35726176)

Most of these troll cases are frustrating, but I have some background from this one. My Grandmother died from Alzheimer's disease. She was left in a nursing home for more than half of my life. I never really got to know my Grandmother well, except that she couldn't remember my name... I do remember the heart attacks, and her progression. Knowing you have Alzheimer is worse than actually suffering the results. You know you'll never remember your family again, your life, even your husband, but there isn't a single thing you can do about it. And now this? AIA, you just entered the wrong playing field.

Re:So AIA, have you ever had Alzheimers? (1)

AIA Foundation (2034750) | about 3 years ago | (#35729576)

Dear Mastermind, My family started Alzheimer's Institute back in 1992 because our grandmother was afflicted with the disease. Out our own pocket we funded a scientists work in the field when no other pharma company or bio pharmaceutical was willing to invest. The scientist was and still is a close family friend. Because of his research he discovered Swedish Mutation which led for the first time the medical field to have a mice model to test drugs against and look for a cure. We are very open and in fact have a disease modifying drug starting phase II trials the clinic that looks to be able to clear beta amyloid. AIA has an ownership in Archer pharmaceuticals which is developing this cure. Unfortunilty to get the drug to Phase III trials will cost over $300M. We look to our license as a way to raise funding. But companies like Jackson Labs is not interested in finding a cure but only growing there business similar to the way big government grows. They want to enjoy their big salaries and paid for trips around the country in the cloak of trying to help the field. Furthermore no one at AIA has drawn a salary. What little money AIA does receive goes to funding litigation efforts to let the industry no they can not steal from us. This is very much a David and Goliath story. We hope with careful consideration you might think deferentially about what might really be happening behind the scenes. Sincerely, AIA Foundation

First Impressions Can be Very Deceiving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35729410)

AIA generally does not comment about pending litigation, but it is necessary here to set the record straight. AIA does not threaten academic researchers and institutions with lawsuits when those researchers and institutions are involved in academic research. In fact, as AIA has stated in the past, there are dozens and dozens of academic institutions that are using the Swedish mutation for non-commercial purposes and have never been bothered about it, much less brought to court. Rather than discourage academic research, as your questions seems to imply, AIA has actually encouraged academic research using the Swedish mutation. For example, AIA worked with Mayo to ensure that the Tg2576 mice containing the Swedish mutation were widely available to academic researchers at little to no cost. Unlike Mayo, Jackson is not giving away Swedish mutation-containing mice for academic research. Jackson is selling the mice and making quite a lot of money in the process. Furthermore, the mice Jackson is selling are, in many instances, being used for commercial purposes -- not academic purposes. For example, Jackson sold mice to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, which then used them in the development of commercial imaging agents. Penn then spun off the technology to Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, which was later acquired by Eli Lilly for up to $800 million. That is not non-commercial, academic research by anyone's definition. Jackson may wish to try this case in the media based on innuendo that is plainly false, but AIA will stick to presenting the facts in court.

that's it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35730666)

I'm going to patent patending.

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