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Innovation e-Review

The Innovation Review is the New York State Science & Technology Law Center's monthly newsletter, bringing information on a variety of economic, business, and technology related legal news as well as highlighting and profiling resources and events across the state.

IP Law Watch


First Biosimilar Receives Recommended Approval from FDA Panel

When people think of medicine, they often think of small-molecule prescription drugs made through chemical processes. However, there are a range of medicines, considered biological products, such as vaccines, allergenics, gene therapy, and proteins. These are generally made from human and/or animal materials and usually have a more complex structure than small-molecule prescription drugs. This complexity has previously prevented the development of lower-cost, highly similar versions of biological products, called biosimilars. This month, however, an FDA advisory panel voted to recommend the approval of Amgen, which could become the first biosimilar in the United States.


USPTO Develops New Guidelines for Patents on Nature-Based Products and Abstract Ideas

The USPTO has released new interim guidelines on subject matter eligibility including claim examples for nature-based products and abstract ideas.

The guidelines follow a number of recent Supreme Court rulings on subject matter eligibility for patents. In Alice Corp. v CLS Bank the Supreme Court invalidated Alice Corp.’s patent because “the claims were drawn to a patent-ineligible abstract idea.” Rulings in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. and Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. both invalidated patents based on the laws of nature or a natural phenomenon.


2015 Supreme Court IP/Patent Cases to Watch

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases related to intellectual property this year, although neither are set for argument yet. In Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, Inc., the Supreme Court will review whether to uphold a long-standing rule that licensees of a patent are only required to pay royalties during the term of a patent regardless of contract. In Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., the Court will determine whether a defendant’s good-faith belief that a patent is invalid is a defense to induced infringement.


Around New York State


Gov. Cuomo Nominates New President and CEO of Empire State Development Corp

Buffalo developer Howard Zemsky has been nominated to become New York State’s newest commissioner of economic development. Former president and CEO of Empire State Development Corp, Kenneth Adams, has been appointed as the commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Zemsky’s nomination needs to be confirmed by the state Senate.


$1.5 Billion Contest for Upstate Revitalization Grants is Announced

The Upstate New York Economic Revitalization Competition calls for the development of regional investment plans based on identifying existing assets as well as highlighting needs and recommending areas of opportunity. Seven regions across upstate New York are eligible to compete for one of three awards of $500,000 each. The program will be modeled after the “Buffalo Billion” initiative and is open to the Mid-Hudson, Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, North Country, Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.


Funding Opportunities


VentureWell Student Grants: E-Team Program Provides Support and Funding of up to $75,000

VentureWell, a non-profit organization dedicated to experiential learning and commercialization in higher education, is accepting applications for their E-Team Program for Winter 2015 (deadline February 6, 2015) and Spring 2015 (deadline May 8, 2015).

The E-Team Program consists of three stages and is described as an integrated program of funding, training, coaching and investment. It is intended for college or university student led-teams. Teams must consist of at least two active students and a faculty adviser willing to act as Principal Investigator and teams must be a part of a VentureWell member institution (SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Buffalo, Clarkson University, Cornell, RPI, RIT, University of Rochester, Stony Brook University, and Syracuse University are all member institutions). For more information, view VentureWell’s E-Team Program Guidelines.


NYSERDA Funding Available for Technologies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has announced new funding of $14.5 million for projects that use market-ready technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at power plants. Up to $2 million will be available per project with the criteria that all projects must be replicable. Projects will be evaluated based on total tons of carbon dioxide reduced, the cost per ton of carbon dioxide reduced, the duration of the carbon dioxide reduction, and the technical merit of the project. More information on the Competitive Greenhouse Gas Reduction Pilot Program can be found here.

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