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[IP] MM vs Deltec Patent issue (OT? probably. Rant? Definitely)

 Ok, I just can't sit on my hands anymore on this one. The direction that the
courts and patent office in this country are going seems
 pretty absurd to me. Keep in mind that I am just a simple engineer, and not an
expert in these matters by any means. I have also not
 examined MiniMed's patent, but I suspect it is like a lot of those in use
today, worthless. The US patent office will grant a big business a
 patent for virtually anything, no matter how vague the patent application is.
An individual, making the same application, or one with actual
merit, is almost universally denied.  

 Two cases in point. A guy in Iowa has a cool idea. Put a laser pointer into a
drum stick so a drummer puts on a really nifty light show
 when he plays. The inventor built several prototypes and applied for a patent.
Started test-marketing, and the things took off, selling like
 crazy. His Patent application was denied on the grounds that he did not show
his idea could be developed into a marketable product.
 Several years and a long court battle later, the man successfully got his
patent, and immediately sold it for a huge profit.

 In other news an "inventor" in Virginia (who happened to also be a lawyer) that
was granted a patent for "A system involving buying and
 selling merchandise via electronic communications". This description is so
vague as to have covered just about every form of electronic
 commerce which was already in use at the time. Without any real details this
person was granted a patent, that was the followed on with
 another. Eventually he was awarded over 29 Million dollars from eBay for patent

 If we keep going this direction, we could end up like Australia, where a guy
applied for and was granted a patent for the wheel. Honestly
this is the truth.

 In the past, it has been understood that one could not patent an idea that was
widely in use or had been published by another. The
 concept of "prior art" seems to have been lost in this country. How many people
have been saying, since the first insulin pump was built,
 that it would be good to have closed loop system? It has been openly discussed
here and in many other open forums. To say that Minimed
 or anyone else had this idea first, and therefor is entitled to patent it, is
ridicules. If they had this idea all the way back in 1997, why didn't
 they develop and build the product? It wasn't until Deltec started giving them
a run for their money that they brought the product to
 market and asserted their alleged patent. I suspect the rush that Minimed made
to get the 512 to marked is so they would have additional
leverage in the court case.

> Date: Fri, 08 Aug 2003 17:30:14 +0000
> From: email @ redacted
> Subject: Re: [IP] Medtronic alleges patent infringement 
> Justin,
 > Patents are completely pointless if companies are not allowed, even
 > to enforce their patents. Now, I can't speak to the specific details in this
> case, but if MM is correct, they have a patent on something that another 
 > company is now using. MM filed a patent so that they have the rights to such
> design.  
 > Having "similar" designs is not patent infringement. Ford and Chevy can have
> similar designs all they want...but Ford and Chevy would DEFINITELY sue one 
> another if one of the companies developed a patent for a new vehicle 
 > technology, and then the other starting duplicating the use of that
> without paying royalties.  
 > The patent laws were put in place to PROTECT companies. A company could spend
> thousands or millions of dollars developing something that another company 
> could just, then, take and use for themselves without any of the development 
> costs.  That gives the other company an unfair advantage, and they are 
 > profiting off of the work of another company without giving them what they
> do.
> If, in fact, MM had patented the combination meter/pump back in 1997 as they 
 > allege, than they should be praised for having enough forethought for
> the idea before anyone else.  This rewards innovation.  Deltec, should their 
 > device truly be in "violation" of this patent, should have to pay MM
> for their device because they are profiting from an idea that MM first 
> developed and patented.  In fact, a few weeks back, MM was bashed for 
 > announcing their 512 pump because it contained features that Deltec announced
 > several months earlier but won't release until next year. Just because Deltec
 > publically announced it first doesn't mean that they were even CLOSE to
 > come up with the idea first. Instead, it seems that Deltec was trying to
> thunder away from MM by announcing their product BEFORE MM could release 
 > theirs, knowing that they could not possibly get their device to market
> MM.
> Ryan
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