Friday, March 26, 2010

The Quieter Revolution in US Medicine Predates Health Reform: Doctors Moving from Private Practice to Hospital-Paid Salaried Jobs - NYTimes.com

Gardiner Harris in More Doctors Taking Salaried Jobs - NYTimes.com writes:
"A quiet revolution is transforming how medical care is delivered in this country, and it has very little to do with the sweeping health care legislation that President Obama just signed into law....

As recently as 2005, more than two-thirds of medical practices were physician-owned — a share that had been relatively constant for many years, the Medical Group Management Association says. But within three years, that share dropped below 50 percent, and analysts say the slide has continued."
Hence, in many ways, the new health care law is part of a medical trend that precedes Obama.

Read the whole article here.

USPTO : Amazon One-Click Patent Slides Through Reexamination - Patent Law Blog (Patently-O)

Amazon One-Click Patent Slides Through Reexamination - Patent Law Blog (Patently-O)

Crouch writes:
"I’m afraid that this case could become the poster-child for post-grant reform. "

A #USPTO that Never Learns? Amazon 1-Click Patent Confirmed Upon Re-Examination by the US Patent and Trademark Office

A USPTO that NEVER learns?

Eric Engelman at TechFlash alerts is to the fact that
Amazon.com's 1-Click patent confirmed following re-exam.

Engelman writes:
"Dennis Crouch, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri Law School and editor of the patent law blog Patently-O ... said the 1-Click patent, after Amazon's amendments, is 'a slightly narrower version but essentially the same version.' He added: 'This case may be a public relations boon for supporters of patent reform that have been calling for an overhaul of the reexamination system.'"

Federal Circuit Holds in Ariad v. Eli Lilly that 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 1, Contains a Written Description Requirement AND a (separate) Enablement Requirement

For the text of the decision in this case, see Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Eli Lilly & Co. (Fed. Cir. 2010) (en banc) (.pdf).

As nicely summarized by Paul M. Rivard of Banner & Witcoff, Ltd at LEXOLOGY in Federal Circuit reaffirms 35 U.S.C. § 112, first paragraph contains written description requirement separate from enablement requirement:
"On March 22, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its en banc decision in Ariad v. Eli Lilly, reaffirming that 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶1 contains a written description requirement separate from an enablement requirement. The court ruled that claims to a method of treating diseases by regulating a protein in human cells were invalid for lack of written description."
The case is analyzed in detail at Patent Docs by Kevin Noonan in Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Eli Lilly & Co. (Fed. Cir. 2010) (en banc) who introduces his posting with the statement that:
"It's settled, then -- unless the Supreme Court decides to weigh in, there is a separate written description requirement in 35 U.S.C. § 112, first paragraph."
As Noonan writes:
"The majority also rejected Ariad's argument that the Court applied the written description requirement disproportionately to basic research and inventions by academics and universities. This result is not inconsistent with sound policy that "basic" research may not lead to patentable inventions, characterizing the difference between "academic theories, no matter how groundbreaking," which are not patentable with inventions having a practical use, citing Brenner v. Manson that "[a] patent is not a hunting license. It is not a reward for the search, but compensation for a successful conclusion." While this situation may decrease incentives for university research, the Court is mindful of disincentives on "downstream research"; the goal, according to the Court, is to strike the right balance, which the majority believes it does: "giving the incentive to actual invention and not 'attempt[s] to preempt the future before it has arrived,'" citing Fiers."

What Happens Next in Health Reform? What Does it Mean for Citizens? An Email from the White House Office of Health Reform

I received  today the following email on the health reform law from the White House Office of Health Reform:
Good afternoon,

Since the House of Representatives voted to pass health reform legislation on Sunday night, the legislative process and its political impact have been the focus of all the newspapers and cable TV pundits.
Outside of DC, however, many Americans are trying to cut through the chatter and get to the substance of reform with a simple question: "What does health insurance reform actually mean for me?" To help, we've put together some of the key benefits from health insurance reform.
Let's start with how health insurance reform will expand and strengthen coverage:
  • This year, children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage. Once the new health insurance exchanges begin in the coming years, pre-existing condition discrimination will become a thing of the past for everyone.
  • This year, health care plans will allow young people to remain on their parents' insurance policy up until their 26th birthday.
  • This year, insurance companies will be banned from dropping people from coverage when they get sick, and they will be banned from implementing lifetime caps on coverage. This year, restrictive annual limits on coverage will be banned for certain plans. Under health insurance reform, Americans will be ensured access to the care they need.
  • This year, adults who are uninsured because of pre-existing conditions will have access to affordable insurance through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool.
  • In the next fiscal year, the bill increases funding for community health centers, so they can treat nearly double the number of patients over the next five years.
  • This year, we'll also establish an independent commission to advise on how best to build the health care workforce and increase the number of nurses, doctors and other professionals to meet our country's needs.  Going forward, we will provide $1.5 billion in funding to support the next generation of doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners -- on top of a $500 million investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Health insurance reform will also curb some of the worst insurance industry practices and strengthen consumer protections:
  • This year, this bill creates a new, independent appeals process that ensures consumers in new private plans have access to an effective process to appeal decisions made by their insurer.
  • This year, discrimination based on salary will be outlawed. New group health plans will be prohibited from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that discriminate in favor of higher-wage employees.
  • Beginning this fiscal year, this bill provides funding to states to help establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals in the process of filing complaints or appeals against insurance companies.
  • Starting January 1, 2011, insurers in the individual and small group market will be required to spend 80 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Insurers in the large group market will be required to spend 85 percent of their premium dollars on medical services. Any insurers who don't meet those thresholds will be required to provide rebates to their policyholders.
  • Starting in 2011, this bill helps states require insurance companies to submit justification for requested premium increases. Any company with excessive or unjustified premium increases may not be able to participate in the new health insurance exchanges.
Reform immediately begins to lower health care costs for American families and small businesses:
  • This year, small businesses that choose to offer coverage will begin to receive tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums to help make employee coverage more affordable.
  • This year, new private plans will be required to provide free preventive care: no co-payments and no deductibles for preventive services. And beginning January 1, 2011, Medicare will do the same.
  • This year, this bill will provide help for early retirees by creating a temporary re-insurance program to help offset the costs of expensive premiums for employers and retirees age 55-64.
  • This year, this bill starts to close the Medicare Part D 'donut hole' by providing a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the gap in prescription drug coverage. And beginning in 2011, the bill institutes a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the 'donut hole.'
Thank you,
Nancy-Ann DeParle
Director, White House Office of Health Reform

EU European Court of Justice Rules on Permissible Advertising Words at Google AdWords in Suit by LVMH

Andrew Willis at EUOBSERVER in

EU court's Google ruling leaves words up for sale writes that:
"The European Court of Justice has ruled that Google did not contravene EU trademark rules by allowing advertisers to purchase keywords corresponding to their competitors' trademarks.

But in a nuanced decision on Tuesday (23 March), the Luxembourg-based judges also indicated firms should be allowed to challenge individual cases they deem inappropriate in national courts."
Read the whole article here.

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