Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nigerian scams are getting into patents and academia

A patent holder's lonely way by Jonathan Hum and Dov Gold From the 26 January Barrons, page 18
Medical researchers at 12 major universities were shocked recently when they got letters from Nzedegwu Robert Olisa III, demanding $155,000 payment from each lab. Olisa alleged they had violated his patent and copyright with their activities in proteomics - a hot niche of biotechnology that studies the genetic recipes for proteins. Olisa filed infringement complaints with the FBI and the National Science Foundation. Note: a new twist to asserting a patent. The patent is U.S. patent 7,244,702, filed April 2003, and only cites three U.S. patents as prior art. "People are pirating my work.", Olisa said. "They are squishing me." He told Barron's his drug was the subject of 3,000 medical journal articles. Asked for citations,he then said it contained ingredients that have been mentioned in medical journals. His Web site (www.biologicalagents.com) suggests that the drug is useful against cancer, tuberculosis, malaria and HIV. Members of the Assocation of Biomolecular Research Facilities are puzzled by Olisa's bold claims. Olisa also says he owns the patent for detecting 12 of the 20 standard amino acids of which proteins are made. "We're not going to pay his demand.", said University of Minnesota legal counsel Brian Slovut. "We evaluated his claim and determined that there was no validity to it." Note: Brian - you are so wrong. Olisa's patent is one of Jon Dudas' many high quality issued patents. Christopher Viney, general counsel at Roswel Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, concluded that its lab practices didn't infringe Olisa's claims. Government patent examiners don't always understand the fast moving science of proteomics, noted Harvard University lab manager John Neveu. He said Harvard isn't paying. Olisa promised to call off the collection agents if the alleged infringers pay up. But they had better act fast. Olisa said he is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and is shipping off to Iraq in a few months.