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July 28, 2008

Managing Intellectual Property Releases MIP 50

    By Donald Zuhn --

Managing Intellectual Property has released its sixth annual list of the most influential people in intellectual property (see "Politics, power and passion -- this year's MIP 50").  The MIP 50 appears in the magazine's July/August issue, and can also be found on the magazine's website (access to the online article requires a subscription or trial membership).  The list of intellectual property movers and shakers was decided by Managing IP reporters based on recommendations and research.  The top ten "individuals" on Managing IP's list include:

1.  "The avatar," Second Life

2.  Margot Fröhlinger, Director, European Commission DG Internal Market

Knowles_sherry 3.  Sherry Knowles, Worldwide head of IP, GlaxoSmithKline - spearheaded the lawsuit against the USPTO regarding the Office's new continuation and claims rules.  The victory in Tafas/GSK v. Dudas could have an impact on other USPTO rules packages, such as the alternative claiming rules, which Knowles noted "change[s] the way chemical and pharmaceutical and biotech patent practice has taken place over the last 100 years and will make it impossible to prosecute a genus of chemical compounds."

Dudas_jon 4.  Jon Dudas, Director, USPTO - labeling the Director as a "controversial reformer," Managing IP noted that "he has been the target of criticism from those in the patent community who feel his lack of IP background has resulted in policies that may be harmful to US innovation."  In addition to the Office's new continuation and claims rules, currently on appeal before the Federal Circuit, the Director has also actively promoted the administration's applicant quality submissions (AQS) provision to the Senate patent reform bill.

5.  Li Qunying, Director of IPR division, General Administration of Customs, China

6.  Francis Gurry, Deputy Director-General, WIPO

7.  Kapil Sibal, Union Minister in the Ministry of Science and Technology, India

8.  Rhonda Steele, INTA president and Asia-Pacific marketing properties manager, Mars

Judge_michel 9.  Chief Judge Paul Michel, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit - while the percentage and complexity of patent cases heard by the CAFC increases, the Chief Judge "rejects the notion that the [Supreme] Court has increased its focus on patent cases in recent years," noting that the Court actually heard more patent cases in 2001 and 2002 than in recent years.  The Chief Judge, however, concedes that recent Supreme Court cases have involved "fundamental issues."

10.  Ron Layton, Chief Executive, Light Years IP

Managing IP's list also includes a number of other individuals who will be familiar to Patent Docs readers -- and others who may not be familiar, but should be -- including:

Ungpakorn_jon 11.  Jon Ungphakorn, campaigner and AIDS activist - a former member of Thailand's senate, Ungphakorn began working on AIDS issues in Thailand in 1989, and is now executive secretary of the AIDS Access Foundation and a member of the board of the government's Universal Health Insurance Programme.  He remains committed to compulsory licensing as the only means of access to drugs.

Ravicher 24.  Dan Ravicher, Legal Director, Public Patent Foundation - has been leading a challenge of three Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) stem cell patents.  Ravicher's group argued that "the three WARF patents were impeding scientific progress and driving vital stem cell research overseas."  According to Managing IP, the PUBPAT Legal Director has also been "outspoken about his support for the USPTO's enjoined rules package on claims and continuations, which have been the subject of considerable controversy among the patent community."  Speaking on the Tafas/GSK case, Ravicher told Managing IP that "[w]hile patent holders and patent attorneys may couch their arguments in terms of the public interest, in reality their interest is in their own profits and livelihoods, not in designing a patent system that fosters the overall rate of innovation."

Schwab_susan 25.  Susan Schwab, U.S. Trade Representative - manages the USTR's Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation, which produces the Special 301 report, a comprehensive annual review of the global state of IP rights protection and enforcement.  The 2008 report designated China and Russia as the main areas of concern, and included Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, India, Israel, Thailand, and Pakistan on the priority watch list.

Leahy_patrick 29.  Patrick Leahy, Chairman, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee - the Vermont Senator spent the past year seeking a compromise between the IT and telecommunications industries and the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industries with respect to the Senate patent reform bill (S. 1145), which he introduced.  Senator Leahy characterized the removal of S. 1145 from the Senate calendar in April as "a missed opportunity."

Malackowski_jim_2 33.  Jim Malackowski, President and CEO, Ocean Tomo - launched Ocean Tomo, which has become known for its public auctions of intellectual property, in 2003.  Sales at the spring 2008 auction totaled $19,629,500.

Chan_margaret_who_3 36.  Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization - has sought a resolution to the controversy over Thailand's decision to issue compulsory licenses for a range of anti-AIDS and anti-cancer drugs.

Griswold_gary 42.  Gary Griswold, President and CEO, 3M Innovative Properties - played a crucial role on U.S. patent reform discussions as chairman of the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform.

More detailed descriptions of the above individuals, as well as descriptions of the other members of the MIP 50, can be found in the Managing IP article. 


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Can someone explain why "The avatar," Second Life is #1 on the list?


I can't explain why the avatar takes the top spot on the MIP 50. However, here's a portion of what Managing IP had to say:

"No conference on intellectual property today, it seems, is complete without a session on them; no textbook or learned article comes without a reference to their implications for IP rights owners. Wherever you look, people are talking about online worlds such as Second Life.

The threat is clear, even if the extent is not yet known. These imaginary worlds potentially offer many of the same problems as real worlds – counterfeiting of trade marks, genericization, copyright infringement – with the added problem that no rules have yet been established. Imagine trying to protect your rights in a newly established country with no IP laws or enforcement mechanisms in place, few barriers to entry for pirates, and no way to track down apparent infringers."

Hope that helps.


Sherry Knowles, I love you.

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