jbrodkin writes: "Nobody has dominated the annual list of new U.S. patents like IBM. Now Big Blue may put one of its own officials at the top of the government office that oversees patents in America. David Kappos, vice president and assistant general counsel for intellectual property at IBM, was nominated by President Obama for the post last month and went through a confirmation hearing Wednesday. If confirmed, he will become the new Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Kappos would be charged with reforming an office that suffers from a backlog of 770,000 patent applications. IBM is also one of the key contributors to the patent backlog, having been awarded the most patents of any company for 16 consecutive years. IBM set a record in 2008 with 4,000 new patents, and could benefit substantially from a patent office equipped to more speedily approve applications."
Artifice_Eternity writes: "VistA — the open-source electronic health records system developed by the U.S. Veterans Administration — is widely acknowledged as one of the best EHR platforms in the country. Washington Monthly's Philip Longman writes, "The VA's evolving code also has been adapted by providers in many other countries, including Germany, Finland, Malaysia, Brazil, India, and, most recently, Jordan. To date, more than eighty-five countries have sent delegations to study how the VA uses the program, with four to five more coming every week." WorldVistA.org is a hub for extending and improving the VistA system for use outside the VA. Meanwhile, proprietary private systems cost more, can't be improved by users, and are often clunkier and buggier. Longman argues that the $20 billion for EHR systems included in the stimulus bill may end up being wasted on bad products, and should be frozen until a thorough study of VistA's potential is completed next year."