September 21, 2011

Assignment 1: Please view the module “RCR: Research Misconduct”

1.  In regard to the first case study from the RCR module, in which the graduate student did not keep a proper lab notebook in order to hide her unethical procedure: Do you always keep a very detailed lab notebook, or have there been times that you have neglected to enter data because you feel that it's unimportant or because you're just being lazy?

2.  In regard to the second case study from the RCR module, in which the graduate student changed some of the children's answers in the hopes that the children would benefit from further funding as a result of their apparent lack of education: Have you ever encountered a situation in which your emotions could have affected your behavior regarding research ethics? 

3. In regard to the second case study, in which the research misconduct became news and affected the general public and had political consequences: do you think that altering your personal research data would have an effect on the average American? Why or why not?

4.  Which two federal agencies support most academic research?

5. What is the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) definition of scientific misconduct?

6. Should scientific misconduct have a strict interpretation or be based on the severity of the deception?

7. Are ethical standards enough to reduce scientific misconduct or are there other avenues to counter this problem?

8. Would you report misconduct if protections for "whistle-blowers" such as the First Amendment, False Claims Act and other safeguards didn't exist?

9. In determining whether intentional misconduct has occurred, is the "preponderance of the evidence" sufficient (i.e. "claim or fact is more probably true than not true") or should a higher burden of proof be required (i.e. "clear and convincing evidence" and "beyond a reasonable doubt")

September 14, 2011

Please view Main USPTO website

Module link:

The numbers state how many slides should be played before the presentation is stopped for questions.


Q:  Why is it the case that patents are local? Why is there not one global patent system? How did historical patents help develop the telephone industry, airline industry, and so on?

8-13 Patent background/definitions

Q:  Do the three categories cover everything that you would consider an invention?


Q:  Can you come up with reasons why things that fulfil these requirements might still be unpatentable?  Judges have made four categories off-limits.


Q:  What do you think is necessary to fulfill “substantial” utility?


Q:  What do you think is an example of something lacking “substantial” utility?


Q:  What do you think is an example of prior art?


Q:  What do you think is another form of prior art besides publications or other patents?


Q:  How do you think patents allow others to understand the invention?


Q:  Do you think that patents should follow the “granted unless dismissed” style?


Q:  How long do you think that it takes for patents to be filed after they are accepted?


Q:  What do you think is the best way to reduce the patent backlog?


Q:  Do you have any objections to how the US handles patent protection laws?

Amanda's Notes:

1. Is there anything that is unpatentable?

  • Not patentable: laws of nature, physical phenomena

2. If you were a patent officer, would there be any utility that you wouldn't consider substantial?

  • 10% more efficient motor--is that substantial enough? What number is the threshold?
  • Dr. Gianellis: That's why there are patent lawyers! --Ask the experts.
  • Substantial: must define a "real world" use

3. What is a scientific example of prior art?

  • Publications
  • Dr. Gianellis: Someone else's work that is the same that has been published/disclosed (presentation at a conference or at any meeting). Be careful presenting things that you want to patent. Find out what aspects to leave out of your presentation (again, ask the experts).


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