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Comment Re:Does not Affect Prior Art Doctrine (Score 1) 362

It is worth your time to review "SEC. 7. PREISSUANCE SUBMISSIONS BY THIRD PARTIES" (p. 71 of Specifically, the bill passed by the Senate permits third-party submission of prior art claims, which should help with the prior art problem. Of course, this cuts both ways in that inventors also will have to be diligent themselves.

Comment Re:One way trips? (Score 1) 519

You can fund the program by backing up your votes with cash. The more you pay, the higher up the list a nominee moves. How much would you pay to get rid of that guy who gets in front of you at the coffee shop and orders ever-so-slightly different hazelnut smackuccinos for himself and his 67 co-workers? And then pays in pennies? I swear that something like this once happened to me in Cincinnati.

Comment Re:I'd guess very very common (Score 1) 253

At least two of the journals in which my work has been published, Journal of Animal Science ( and Journal of Dairy Science ( require that the authors include 100-word interpretative summaries that are peer reviewed. Those summaries are supposed to be written so that they can be read and understood by the proverbial main in the street. The value of the summaries may be related to the fact that they are published in journals dedicated to agricultural science, and that USDA and other agencies that fund much of this research are very interested in technology transfer from labs to the field. Such motivations may not exist or be as strong in, say, a more abstract mathematical discipline.

Comment On the surface, not much to see here (Score 1) 285

It took ten years, but I can finally post on a Slashdot story with some degree of authority. I have a PhD in animal breeding and genetics and work actively in the area. Also note that IANAL. (Disclaimer: This post represents my opinions only, not those of my employer, the US Department of Agriculture.)

As noted up-thread, this patent was filed for years ago. We discussed it quite a bit around the office. Assuming a sane world in which there is a competent patent examination process most of the claims in the patent will be thrown out on prior art, and in many cases an innovative step is lacking. Note that the patent is species-specific. What does that tell us? It tells us that Monsanto (tm) was aware of prior art in other species but believed the PTO could be convinced that moving from cows or chickens to pigs is a novel step that is non-obvious to a practitioner skilled in the art. I believe that this application has gone nowhere, and that the IP was sold off, maybe to PIC or Newsham.

This is slimy, unpleasant stuff, but I am cautiously optimistic that any patent granted will be so narrow in scope as to not affect most of us consumers. Genetic evaluation programs for dairy cattle are now using high-density SNP arrays to improve predictions, and there are a number of nasty patent applications floating around out there, and the PTO may get some of them wrong.

Comment Re:proving my point... (Score 3, Interesting) 235

I'm not a computer scientist, so YMMV, but I frequently act as a peer reviewer for several agricultural journals. We have no quota with respect to acceptance or rejection, and are not compensated monetarily or otherwise for our service as reviewers. I've rejected papers before, and it seems like I've rejected more as time goes on. I've even had a couple of my own papers rejected -- not every paper is a winner. One thing I have noticed is that I review for a journal with a very high impact rating, and there has been a noticeable increase in mediocre-quality papers as people chase the impact rating.

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