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May 2005

Genetic Mingling Mixes Human, Animal Cells

Genetic Mingling Mixes Human, Animal Cells By PAUL ELIAS, AP Biotechnology Writer
Fri Apr 29, 8:44 PM ET

On a farm about six miles outside this gambling town, Jason Chamberlain looks over a flock of about 50 smelly sheep, many of them possessing partially human livers, hearts, brains and other organs.

The University of Nevada-Reno researcher talks matter-of-factly about his plans to euthanize one of the pregnant sheep in a nearby lab. He can't wait to examine the effects of the human cells he had injected into the fetus' brain about two months ago.

"It's mice on a large scale," Chamberlain says with a shrug.

As strange as his work may sound, it falls firmly within the new ethics guidelines the influential National Academies issued this past week for stem cell research.

In fact, the Academies' report endorses research that co-mingles human and animal tissue as vital to ensuring that experimental drugs and new tissue replacement therapies are safe for people.

Doctors have transplanted pig valves into human hearts for years, and scientists have injected human cells into lab animals for even longer.

But the biological co-mingling of animal and human is now evolving into even more exotic and unsettling mixes of species, evoking the Greek myth of the monstrous chimera, which was part lion, part goat and part serpent.

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Microsoft, Intel Building Up Patent Portfolios

As Washington eyes patent reforms, the imperative to secure intellectual property is driving companies to build up their portfolios.

By Alexander Wolfe
TechWeb News

Patents issued this week to Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. highlight the intellectual-property imperative that's driving technology powerhouses to aggressively build up their patent portfolios.
Microsoft received U.S. patent 6,886,132 for its method of creating an MHTML file, which is used to attach Web pages to an e-mail message.

Over at Intel, the semiconductor giant was awarded U.S. patent 6,886,180. The invention takes the functions of a standalone, broadband cable-modem and implements them on a personal computer.

The two patents provide just a small snapshot of the innovations the two companies have shepherded through the process at the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. Intel this week received 28 patents, ranging from a novel heatsink assembly to a method for making a photolithography mirror. Microsoft's week saw it snare 13 patents, encompassing inventions from an MPEG sub-sample decoder to a keyboard with an improved numeric section.

For those keeping a scorecard, such activity translates into hefty growth in the respective companies' annual portfolios. Microsoft received 520 patents in 2003 and 659 in 2004. So far this year, it has garnered 176, which puts it on a pace to slightly exceed its total of two years ago.

While software patents have been on the increase, the numbers from hardware-centric Intel dwarf those from Microsoft. Intel earned 1,602 patents in 2003; 1,607 in 2004; and 482 during the first three months of 2005.

Yet the flip-side of such individual successes is an overall patent system that's swamped by too many filings and too little funding. Indeed, Congress is poised to enact legislation to reform the 215-year-old patent process. Both Intel and Microsoft support the reforms, which they say are needed to minimize the potential for abuse of the patent system.

"You have to have a system that actively benefits innovation," David Simon, Intel's chief patent attorney, said in an interview. "You have to ask whether models that were originally developed going back into the 1600s needs changing. Will the legislative reforms that we're advocating go a long way towards helping things? We think that they will."

Specifically, Simon, who testified Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee's intellectual-property subcommittee, is seeking reforms which will cut down on poor-quality patents. He also wants to reduce the number of cases brought by companies he said are looking for a quick buck by acquiring patents and then seeking settlements from those they claim are infringing. Simon testified as a representative of the Business Software Alliance; along with Intel and Microsoft, that industry lobbying group counts among its members Adobe, Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sybase, and Symantec.

Simon believes legislation will emerge from Congress in the next year or two "We're playing a very active role in that debate," he said. "It's a very hot issue right now in Congress."

Full story.

Rayovac files to issue $1.2 billion in securities

The Business Journal of Milwaukee - 11:15 AM CDT Thursday
Rayovac files to issue $1.2 billion in securities

Rayovac Corp. said Wednesday that it has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission for the issuance of nearly $1.2 billion worth of securities.

Atlanta-based Rayovac, which has plants in Wisconsin and its North American headquarters in Madison, said the registration will allow the consumer products company to issue, from time to time, common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, warrants, stock purchase contracts and stock purchase units.

Rayovac (NYSE: ROV) will change its name to Spectrum Brands Inc. effective May 2. The company produces consumer batteries, electric shaving products, pet supplies, household insecticides and personal care and lawn and garden products.

Full story.

PowerDsine Files Patent Suit

PowerDsine Files Patent Suit
04.29.2005, 05:16 PM

Ethernet equipment maker PowerDsine Ltd. said Friday it filed suit in a New York federal district court, alleging that certain products made and sold by Belden CDT Inc. and its Red Hawk Network Essentials Inc. unit infringe upon a PowerDsine patent issued in 2002.

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IBM and Rockwell to target life sciences manufacturers

IBM and Rockwell to target life sciences manufacturers

Published: 27 Apr 2005

IBM and Rockwell to target life sciences manufacturers

Software giant IBM is working with Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Rockwell Automation to deliver manufacturing technology to life sciences companies as part of its Value-Driven Compliance Solutions framework.

The aim of the collaboration effort, known as Proof-of-Concept, is to help pharmaceutical companies use information integration to identify and capitalize on opportunities to reduce risk and increase operational efficiencies.

Full story.

Bishop's statement spurs discussions

Can living will be a mortal sin?
Bishop's statement spurs discussions

By Anita Weier
April 29, 2005

Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino's recent statement that a person could include in a living will some directives that could constitute a mortal sin has added a new twist for local health care institutions who deal with those near death.

The bishop wrote in the Madison Catholic Herald that "to sign a living will ordering one's own death if one were diagnosed as permanently unconscious, but not terminally ill and not close to death, is a mortal sin."

Full story.

Newborn resuscitation debated in court

Newborn resuscitation debated in court

By Ryan J. Foley
Associated Press
April 29, 2005

In a case that's attracting attention from doctors and pro-life activists, the state Supreme Court is considering whether doctors must try to save infants even when they conclude they have no chance of living.

A lawyer for the mother of a baby who died at a Madison hospital in 1999 told the justices on Thursday that doctors should have tried to resuscitate the infant. Meriter Hospital's attorney responded that doctors determined they could not have saved the baby even with efforts to give him fluids and oxygen.

"It is undisputed that no amount of resuscitative efforts - no matter how aggressive - would have saved Bridon's life," David Pliner said.

Full story.

Madison: High tech helps area income grow

By Lynn Welch
April 29, 2005

Income in Madison rose faster than in any other area of the state, a testament to how the knowledge economy grows the area's economy.

Madison's per capita personal income rose 3.9 percent between 2002 and 2003 to $35,471, ranking it 30th among 360 metropolitan areas measured by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

"Madison is a fast growing community and the economy is one of the fastest growing in the state," said Terry Ludeman, chief of the office of economic advisers with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Not only did Madison outpace other areas statewide, but it rose faster than some larger metropolitan areas within and bordering the state. While Minneapolis income rose 3.2 percent to $38,601, Chicago income increased 1.8 percent to $35,464 and Milwaukee 2.5 percent to $35,133, ranking it 35th.

Full story.



In art, color is information. Just look at a painting by an artist such as Monet: Each uniquely hued brushstroke brings to life a new blade of grass, a leaf, a flower petal, a slice of sky-each a component of the complete picture.

Scientists, too, use color to paint clearer pictures of the things-everything from combustion gases to cancer cells-they study. And as a result of a new laser system that rapidly delivers a pulsed rainbow of colors, those pictures will contain more information than ever before. Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Scott Sanders developed the system, which is highlighted in the cover story of the May issue of Optics and Photonics News.


Inventor of Intermittent Windshield Wiper Dies

Patent pioneer, WSU professor dies at 77
By Candice Warren | Staff Writer

Martin Vecchio/The South End
Thanks to Robert Kearns' improvements to the windshield wipers, you don't have to crank the wipers anymore.

Robert Kearns, a one-time Wayne State University engineering professor and the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper, died Wednesday, Feb. 9 of brain cancer at a nursing home in Sykesville, Md. He was 77.

Full story.