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Jessica Chesher

Managing Editor

Innovation eReview

May 2009 Edition

In This Issue:

Welcome Message

Welcome to the May 2009 edition of the Innovation e-Review newsletter.

This month’s feature article, “Managing Patent Costs During an Economic Downturn”, written by Steven Yu and Shawn O’Dowd of Kenyon & Kenyon LLP, proposes seven ways to reduce or defer the costs of patent filings without sacrificing the quality of your company’s patent portfolio.

This edition also highlights Widetronix, an Ithaca, NY-based company that builds low-power, long-life batteries for microelectronics. The self-charging betavoltaic batteries that they have created provide a lifetime of over 25 years, enabling solutions for medical implants, security and logistics.

Also, starting this month, a new section is being added to the Innovation e-Review – the New York State Research Spotlight – offering updates on research currently being conducted in NYS in various sectors of technology.  This month’s spotlight examines a new ultrasound technology that pushes the frontier in early prediction of bone loss. It was developed by Dr. Qin and his colleagues at the Orthopedic Bioengineering Research Lab at Stony Brook.

And finally, many new companies presented at the Smart Start Venture Forum in Albany on May 19 and 20. To find out more about these interesting startups, please browse through their links at keynote speaker Brad Treat's blog.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments. Please feel free to contact us at nysstlc@law.syr.edu. Thank you.


Feature Article: Managing Patent Costs During an Economic Downturn

by Steven Yu and Shawn O'Dowd

Reprinted with permission from Kenyon & Kenyon LLP
Originally published in the December 2008 issue of Intellectual Property Today

Even during an economic downturn, for innovative companies, the protection of intellectual property will continue to play a key role in the company’s business strategy. However, obtaining patents can be costly and rely heavily on cash input, which may be in short supply in the current credit squeeze.

While the typical reaction in this situation is to scale back the patent filing and prosecution efforts, it is important to also make sure that the current economic difficulties do not divert you from making long-term decisions needed in creating a strong patent portfolio that is ready for the inevitable upturn in the economy. Here are seven things to keep in mind when considering ways to reduce or defer the costs of patent filings during this economic downturn.  More…

Intellectual Property News: Obama Taps Sunstein for OIRA Chief

by Erin Lawless

The Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is responsible for making judgment on most proposed government rules, especially those regarding the environment, public health and safety.  To fill the vacancy in this position, President Obama picked Cass R. Sunstein, who comes to the OIRA with a strong resumé. He was a former colleague of Obama at the University of Chicago Law School and currently teaches at Harvard Law School.   More...

Intellectual Property News: USPTO Adds Germany to the PPH

by Eric Berlin

On April 27, as part of a plan to address the backlog of patents that accumulated under the Bush Administration, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) began a 2-year Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program in partnership with their counterparts at the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO). By sharing information between patent offices, this partnership aims to reduce the examination workload, expedite processing, lower costs, improve patent quality, and expand a worldwide network, thereby giving more inventors access to the benefits of this process.  More...


Company Spotlight: Widetronix

by Melissa Dobson

Widetronix designs and builds low-power, long-life batteries for microelectronics. With grant funding from the U.S. Navy, Widetronix has created a patent-pending, semiconductor materials solution for betavoltaic batteries. These self-charging batteries provide a lifetime that is greater than 25 years, enabling solutions for medical implants, security and logistics.

Our team of expert engineers developed a revolutionary silicon carbide materials platform, which has subsequently enabled a new generation of battery technology. Betavoltaic batteries have long suffered an Achilles heel in terms of their efficiency, making them prohibitively expensive. Widetronix eliminates the efficiency challenge with a unique, patent-pending materials solution using silicon carbide. This solution will play a significant role in a greener, global economy that seeks alternative power solutions for microelectronics.  More...

Research Spotlight: Stony Brook OBRL Director Leads Research in Early Prediction of Bone Loss

by Melissa Dobson

Yi-Xian Qin, Ph.D., Director of the Orthopedic Bioengineering Research Laboratory at Stony Brook University, and colleagues at Stony Brook and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) in Houston, have developed a new ultrasound technology to assess multiple parameters of hard tissue-like bone. As associate team leader for NSBRI's Smart Medical Systems and Technology Team, Dr. Qin calls the new technology Scanning Confocal Acoustic Navigation (SCAN). This technology is more advanced than existing ultrasound technology because SCAN assesses bone parameters beyond mineral density, namely bone qualities such as strength, structure and stiffness. "SCAN uses non-invasive and non-destructive ultrasound to image bone, and the technology enables us to identify weak regions, as well as make a diagnosis and assist in healing fractures," says Dr. Qin. The team expects to develop a small, mobile SCAN device that would be patient-friendly.  More...


Industry News: DoJ Investigates Google Books for Antitrust Violations

by Erin Lawless

Google Books is a new feature Google will offer in the future whereby, on the Internet, users can read books that have been scanned into a user-friendly online database.  So far, many, but not all, authors and publishers have entered into agreements with Google to use the content of the books; however, the United States federal government’s Department of Justice (DoJ) is investigating whether this new Google feature would violate antitrust laws.   More...


Industry News: EPA's 'Endangerment Finding' Stirs Debate

by Eric Berlin

Two years ago, the Supreme Court mandated that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conduct scientific studies to determine whether six new greenhouse gases (GHGs), including carbon dioxide, be added to the pollutants listed under the Clean Air Act. If these gases are found to pose a threat to public health and welfare, then the implication is that the EPA would be required to regulate their emission. On April 17, however, when Lisa Jackson, the new EPA Administrator, proposed that these GHGs do indeed pose a threat to public health and welfare, a fierce objection arose to the threat of regulation.  More...

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