"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Bizarre World of Hypothetical viz. Fictional "Prophetic Examples" in Patents

The Stanford Legal Aggregate has just published an article by Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette titled Science Fiction: Fictitious Experiments in Patents.

According to present law in force, as unbelievable as it sounds, patents can be based on fictitious "prophetic examples" and can rely on completely hypothetical results, which do not even have to be identified as such in patent documents.

Fordham Law News in Fictitious Data, Real Patents by Nate Svogun writes:

"While government law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies don't take kindly to false or misleading information, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office allows pie-in-the-sky claims when it comes to the potential uses of a particular patent....

The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and the courts explicitly permit made-up experiments and fictional data in patents.
"

Indeed, contemporary patent laws and court decisions have created a windfall world for patent holders, as patent grants have gone far beyond the protections imagined for inventors and their discoveries by the American Founders.

The US Constitution provides:

"Article I Section 8. Clause 8 – Patent and Copyright Clause of the Constitution. [The Congress shall have power] “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

Well, let us ask, what in our modern era is now a patentable "discovery"?

As written at Legal Aggregate:

"(This article was first published in Science on June 14, 2019.) Although it may surprise scientists, one can receive a patent in many jurisdictions without implementing an invention in practice and demonstrating that it works as expected. Instead, inventors applying for patents are allowed to include predicted experimental methods and results, known as prophetic examples, […]"

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Eureka Alert! News Release of June 13, 2019 titled Clarifying the fictional science of prophetic patents: Labels needed? writes:

"In a Policy Forum, Janet Freilich and Lisa Larrimore Ouellette highlight the common practice of including "prophetic" examples in patents - particularly in the fields of chemistry and biology, where patents routinely describe the outcomes of experiments that have not been conducted - and suggest labels in patents, to better call out such examples." [emphasis added by Law Pundit]

We quote Freilich & Ouellette in USPTO should require prophetic examples to be clearly labeled to avoid confusion as posted June 18, 2019 by Lisa Larrimore Ouellette to Written Description:

"Prophetic examples may be familiar to patent drafters, but scientists and engineers who learn about them generally describe them as bizarre, and even some patent scholars are unfamiliar with the practice."

Our opinion is that it is high time in patent law -- and it has been high time for decades -- to reduce the granting of patents to discoveries actually made and implemented and not to the patenting of ideas or future expected results, which has always been forbidden by law in principle. Prophetic examples are ideas, not discoveries, and should play zero role in the granting of patents.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Native America: Ancient Migration Between Siberia and North America Based on New DNA Data Analysis: From the Arctic to the U.S. Southwest

The United States of America (USA) and the nation-states of North America, Central America, and South America are all countries whose populations trace their origins back to migrants, or if one prefers, immigrants viz. emigrants. That is a paradoxical issue of fact in our own present migrant-issue-dominated era.

Here is how it all began....

Smithsonian Magazine has an article by Brian Handwerk titled "Ancient DNA Reveals Complex Story of Human Migration Between Siberia and North America: Two studies greatly increase the amount of information we have about the peoples who first populated North America—from the Arctic to the Southwest U.S."

Attached to the link by the Smithsonian:
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-dna-reveals-complex-story-human-migration-between-siberia-and-north-america-180972356/#mdMUGpRtvgehwOZ1.99
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Monday, June 03, 2019

The Beginnings of Human Social Organization in the Group Exchange of Small Talk Information: A Positive Look at Mainstream News Media as the Gossip Experts ala Yuval Noah Harari

We have been very critical of mainstream news media in our past postings, especially in their choice and treatment of "news" items, many of which we would put into the category of "small talk" or "gossip", an interactive form of communication that some say accounts for as much as 75% of daily human speech.

We quote Horst Müller in Spektrum der Wissenschaft 10/1998, page 108 in "Klatsch und Tratsch. Wie der Mensch zur Sprache fand.", a book review of  Sebastian Vogel's translation of Robin Dunbar's Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language.:
"Nach Dunbar handeln etwa 75 Prozent des täglichen Gesprächs-aufkommens eines Menschen von "Klatsch und Tratsch", also Inhalten, die sich im wesentlichen mit der sozialen Interaktion von echten oder vermeintlichen Gruppenmitgliedern beschäftigen."
 Translation of that phrase by Google Translate:
"According to Dunbar, about 75 percent of a person's daily conversations are about 'gossip,' [viz. "small talk"] meaning content that essentially deals with the social interaction of real or supposed group members." [text in brackets added by LawPundit]
Up to now, we have been of the opinion that the mass of humans prefers also to read banal "blah blah" material. Indeed, we still think that to be the case, but there may be a reason for humankind's preferences.

We have been reconsidering the matter in view of a very interesting journalistic piece by Peter Reinhart, deputy editor-in-chief of the Trierischer Volksfreund titled "Der Anfang von allem" in German.

Reinart's remarks in the Volksfround Forum focus on the presumed beginnings of complex human social organization. Such beginnings are arguably found in interactive communication via the group exchange of information, especially news of the general "goings-on" of fellow humanity, i.e. who is doing what, where, and with whom.  In short, the banal "news" of everyday life. This can be in the form of daily conversation, and, of course, via written material.

Reinhart writes that people are most interested in the doings of other people, especially those not too close to home and in higher social strata, i.e. "out there" in the bigger world. That interest has to do with survival optimization. Knowing "what is doing" is essential knowledge.

The focus is essentially on what has traditionally been called "gossip" (German "Klatsch und Tratsch") and "small talk", an information exchange that in earlier days took place on e.g. the market square, and, according to Reinhart, is an active form of communication that is at the root of modern societal organization in all of its forms. This is definitely a hypothesis worth thinking about.

Reinhart writes at  the Volksfreund Forum as excerpted below (one can translate the quoted text into English or another language of choice at Google Translate):
"Nichts interessiert den Menschen so sehr wie der Mensch. Was der nette Nachbar treibt, ist und bleibt privat. Öffentlich verhandelt werden von alters her die Heldentaten der Reichen, Schönen und Berühmten, ihr Leben, ihr Sterben. Die Irrungen und Wirrungen, die Höhenflüge und Abstürze, die Eskapaden und Skandale. Geld. Macht. Sex.
...
Nachrichten aus der Abteilung Klatsch und Tratsch. Die einen mögen sie, die anderen mögen sie nicht. Aber wir brauchen sie, erstaunlich genug, alle. Wie kommt’s?

Rückblende, vor siebzigtausend Jahren: Der Homo sapiens ist ein Herdentier und die Kooperation in der Gruppe entscheidend für das Überleben und die Fortpflanzung, sagt der bestsellernde Universalhistoriker Yuval Noah Harari. Dazu reicht es nicht aus, zu wissen, wo sich Löwen und Büffel aufhalten. Es ist viel wichtiger zu wissen, wer in der Gruppe wen nicht leiden kann, wer mit wem schläft, wer ehrlich ist und wer andere beklaut. [link added by LawPundit]

Mit Hilfe von verlässlichen Informationen über zuverlässige Mitmenschen konnten die Sapiens ihre Gruppen stark erweitern, enger miteinander zusammenarbeiten und komplexere Formen der Zusammenarbeit entwickeln, bis hin zu modernen Staaten."
Is Harari right in his fundamental hypothesis? Was interactive "small talk" group communication a significant factor in the evolution of human society and is it integral to developing modern complex forms of interaction and cooperation?

We are still thinking about it.