Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Oh, patents! Hickies

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

In the translation industry, localization is designed to prevent costly cultural bloopers… which makes me wonder how this “shoe closure system” became a “fastening device” and finally, a “hicky” -- of all possible designations… once marketed…
"We named our company HICKIES, which is a cheeky term for a mark of affection.  We believe the world needs more ‘marks of affection’, and we want to leave a mark of affection on your footwear”.
Ah Ha! Mystery solved!  For once, here is proof that a sneaker is not always a shoe…
 In any event, for the sake of this invention, it is probably supposed to be cute….to have Hickies on your toes… once you have swallowed the X-designation. 
Be gone shoelaces! Bows never look right. They get dirty, and break, and cause little children hours upon hours of small motor coordination practice and frustration.
Welcome Hickies! These are small, two-tone fastening bands that slip through each pair of shoelace holes, transforming all your lace-ups into slip-ons! They are flexible enough to let you slip in and out of your shoe, and resistant enough to keep your shoes on your feet. They come in many different vibrant and classic color combos, and button on and off, although you do not have to remove them to take off, or put on, your shoes.  
There is also a Hickies app that works with your phone camera to let you see how Hickies will look on your favorite sneakers.
Below is a picture of the marketed Hickies, and of Figures 1 & 8 of patent WO2013119268/US2013195020, titled: 




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Animal Patents, huh? Knocked-in (KI) mice

 Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
Readers beware! This post is still rough sailing for your heart.
No kidding…Now that you know all about knockout mice, can you guess what a knockin mouse might be? Here’s a refresher: a knockout mouse is a transgenic mouse, that is, a genetically modified mouse, and in particular a mouse where the function of a specific gene has been altered. So for example, there are insulin-receptor knockout mice useful for studying diabetes and treatment for diabetes.
So… a knockin mouse is a mouse that… is also genetically engineered, but in contrast to a knockout one, the knockin mouse has a gene targeted for insertion in a specific place in its phenotype. And in particular, the mouse may have a knocked in human gene to humanize it for the study of disease and  in vivo testing of particular treatments (Genoway). How’a that for stormy weather?
The EPO returned one patent for humanized “knockin mice”. I am including the abstract just in case this type of engineering pushes you over the edge of belief:


Provided are compositions and methods that relate to prophylaxis and therapy of angiogenesis associated disease and includes novel knockin mice which express novel human/mouse chimeric endoglin, vectors for use in making such mice, and murine embryonic stem cells comprising the novel human/mouse transgene. Also provided are anti-human endoglin monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) which can be used as antiangiogenic agents for prophylaxis or therapy of human tumor angiogenesis and human angiogenesis-associated diseases having excessive vascularization. The mAbs do not cross react with murine endoglin. Also provides are methods for using the anti -human endoglin mAbs for prophylaxis or therapy of human tumor angiogenesis and for angiogenesis-associated diseases having excessive vascularization.

 For my part, I am not sure that I can "write on.." about these mice. There is such an incredible naivety in drawing a line through the middle of the mammal kingdom that every possible argument on fine lines becomes almost defused. This is cutting-edge research, blinded in a justification of progress and inevitability in the absence of comparable or better alternatives. Who would stop the progress of medicine? 

When I lapse out of consciousness, I wish... I hope.... that Gutenberg will save the day a second time in history, and that soon, we will print human tissues for pharmaceutical testing, complete with a pre-configured genetic makeup, or that computer-generated modeling will do extreme modeling.  I wish ... I hope that philosophers and ethicists might reformulate a quality of life that might include some form of acceptable conclusion, and that our bonds might cease to rip us apart.

And then I regain consciousness, google "knockout", and here is the promise that is returned:

“You think it up, we knock it out…” (InGenious Targeting Laboratory)