Friday, March 28, 2014

Pharmaceutical patents - MDR-TB*

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

* MDR-TB means Multiple-drug resistant tuberculosis. 


On March 24 2014, the world celebrated World TB Day, an international health campaign launched by WHO (the World Health Organization) designed both to raise awareness about tuberculosis, and to reach the estimated 3 million people worldwide who are infected each year, and left untreated [WHO (2)].


TB is second only to HIV as the greatest killer due to an infectious agent [WHO (1)]. Every year about 9 million people are infected, 1.8 million die, and only 6 million will get treatment. The highest incidence of new TB cases occurs in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.


Tuberculosis is a deadly bacterial and highly infectious disease that spreads from person to person through air. It is primarily an infection of the lungs, but it can also infect other organs. TB is preventable, treatable and curable. The two most potent standard treatments for TB are isoniazid and rifampin [CDC].


Due to a combination of factors, including but not limited to: how long the same two standard drug treatments have existed; time-consuming and antiquated sputum smear microscopy testing; poor, interrupted or incomplete treatments, overcrowded prison systems, and very low socio-economic conditions, an MDR-TB (multiple drug resistant- TB) epidemic now exists in conjunction with non-resistant TB strains [PIP]. Resistance occurs when the disease no longer responds to either of the two standard treatments plus any fluoroquinolone treatments. The estimated number of persons suffering from MDR-TB in 2012 was 450,000 [WHO (2)]. And contrary to beliefs, TB is estimated to infect 1 million children each year, 30,000 of which are infected with MDR-TB [PIP].


Accordingly, and thanks to the dissemination and availability of such epidemiological data, patenting activity related to tuberculosis exists and includes: inventions for cost-effective; fast and alternative methods of diagnosis of both TB and MDR-TB; and inventions disclosing new formulations for the treatment of TB and MDR-TB, including child-friendly diagnostic tools and formulations, since children cannot be tested via the traditional (and century old) methods of  sputum smear microscopy when they are very small, and the injection treatment options are also not well tolerated.  


The following are examples of this patenting activity (excluding sample Russian, Ukrainian, China and Taiwan patents since only the titles and abstracts of these patents are translated):
US2013095489 - Process for detection of multidrug resistant tuberculosis using real-time PCR and high resolution melt analysis 
WO201313247 – Real tme PCR detection.of M.Tuberculosis, resistant/susceptible to rifampicin and/or isoniazid. 
WO2013180779 – Methods of using isoniazid for the diagnosis of lung infections 
WO2014014434 – Preparation for the treatment of tuberculosis 
US2013150415 – Rationally improved isoniazid and ethionamide derivatives 
WO2012103119 – Compositions of the administering rifalazil and other anti-tuberculosis agents in unit dosage form for oral administration 
WO 2012044140 - Anti-tuberculosis preparation in tablet form and process for preparing same
US2011207684 – New low side effect pharmaceutical composition containing isoniazid



The extent to which these patented discoveries are used to avert the spread of this hydra-headed epidemic and to reach their target populations -- in the most destitute areas of a globally connected world – is as much a question of public health policies as it is a political and economic issue of human rights and access to healthcare and health technologies.
 Thanks to the tireless efforts of dedicated organizations such as Partners in Health and Médecins sans frontiers / Doctors without borders, among many others, the prevention, treatment and ultimate eradication of TB, at the very least, continues to appear on the health technology agenda of pharmaceutical companies.



CDC -  Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)

PIP – Partners in Health

WHO (1) Tuberculosis – WHO Factsheet No. 104

WHO (2) World TB Day – Reach the 3 million

Monday, March 24, 2014

Oh, patents! Sunscreen

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Sunny days ahead…. sunscreen a must!

A search for patents using the single search word “sunscreen” returned a whopping 4922 patents, a number commensurate with all the warnings about the damaging effects of UV rays on skin and hair.

 US8652449 titled Sunscreen compositions having synergistic combination of UV filters is a l’Oréal patented sunscreen. The invention consists in reducing the overall amount of UV filters while retaining high UV filtering capacity. This is achieved in the discovery of a combination of UV filters that function synergistically to filter UV rays.  And, the main advantages of having several different UV filtering agents that work synergistically is that it enables to reduce the overall amount of UV filtering agents, which are usually sticky and thick, while still maintaining a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF). So L’Oréal’s new and advanced sunscreens are both lighter and more effective (with a higher SFP).  

Below you will find the abstract for US8652449 titled Sunscreen compositions having synergistic combination of UV filters  and an image of L’OREAL’s advanced sunscreen.

Abstract US8652449: The disclosure relates to sunscreen compositions having a synergistic combination of ultraviolet light (UV) filtering agents that provide a high sun protection factor (SPF). Compositions according to the disclosure have high SPF values without requiring high overall amounts of UV filtering agents. Furthermore, the disclosure relates to methods of using the described compositions for protecting keratinous substances such as skin and hair from UV radiation.

Now, enjoy the warmth of the sun and stay protected!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Oh, patents! Parallels™!

Copyrights © Françoise Herrmann


So, you love your Mac… and your favorite professional TM (Translation Memory) program only runs on a PC…. Yikes! You could be in a pickle.

Relax… you no longer have to choose between your Mac and a PC! You can have the best of both worlds on your beloved Mac.

Thanks to Parallels™, you can have a virtual PC running all your PC applications on your Mac, and even have both desktops running at the same time! Parallels™  has emerged as the industry standard for running virtual machines (VM) on a Mac. This means that you can have a complete Windows environment including for example your Windows Microsoft and Adobe suites, and your Translation Memory program, all running in a virtual Windows environment, on your Mac OS machine, itself loaded with the IMac suites and any other programs that you use which are Mac based -- both machines, the virtual and the native, working perfectly in parallel.

Cool! ... Parallels™ also asks you, when you plug in a USB device, such as a printer or an extra external drive, or your Iphone or tablet, where you would like to plug your device. To your Mac or PC? This way, you can download your pics to Iphoto, and scan or print from your virtual PC, or visa versa, just as easily as when you physically select and use a port on one machine, or another.

This amazing virtualization of computer environments, with a super friendly interface, is the topic of more than 100 patentable VM software patents, running on computer-readable media devices!

The following is a very small sample of these patents for parallel processing of host and virtual operating systems:

  • US8387048 – Seamless integration, migration and installation of non-native application in native operating system
  • US7788593 – Seamless integration and installation of non-native application into native operating system
  • US7975236 Seamless integration of non-native application into host operating system
  • US7681134Seamless integration and installation of non-host application into native operating system
  • US7987432Seamless integration and installation of non-native application into native operating system
  • US8117554Seamless integration of non-native widgets and windows with dynamically scalable resolution into native operating system
  • US2012311560 Portable virtual machine
  • US8307358 --Method and system for unattended installation of guest operating system
  • US816647 System and method for restoration of an execution environment from hibernation in a virtual or physical machine

Add to all this patenting activity… a huge Parallels bonus:
Tech support is wonderful. The techies use a remote control program to access your cursor and desktop. And you just sit back and relax, while they fix, enable or troubleshoot your virtual and native machines – even if it takes several hours. 

Oh, and no worries about space. Now that VM computing is so easy, you might want, not one, but several VMs running on your MAC, for your diversified computing needs! Below is the image of a screenshot displaying 5 VMs running on a Mac -- even if the Mac does not (yet) provide a capacitive screen for optimal use of Windows 8.


Friday, March 21, 2014

March 21 - Trisomy 21 Day

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Translators, please update your termbases!

In 2006, March 21 was declared the International Trisomy 21 Syndrome Day (also known as Down’s Syndrome Day). This date was chosen because it contains the scientific explanation of this condition affecting about 1 in 1000 live births worldwide [WHO].

 Indeed Trisomy 21 Syndrome arises as an extra 3rd chromosome in what is normally a pair of chromosomes in position No. 21.  For people affected with Trisomy 21, this extra chromosome at position 21 is present in every single cell, and it thus causes a whole array of symptoms and conditions which are well described and all part of the Trisomy 21 Syndrome.

Since the breakthrough discovery of Trisomy 21 (the genetic cause of Down’s Syndrome) in 1959, other trisomies have been identified such as Trisomy 18 (Edward's Syndrome) and Trisomy 13 (Patua’s Syndrome), which may be detected via ultrasound and other tests during pregnancy.

The eponymic term “Down’s Syndrome”,  a term bearing the name of the 19th century British physician John Langdon Down who first described this condition, should probably be completely replaced by the new Trisomy 21 explanatory designation. This is because however empathetic Sir Langdon Down’s description of Trisomy 21, it was exclusively based on observation and racial feature characterization, which appears both truly offensive in the 21st century, and completely erroneous. 

Down’s description termed Observations on the ethnic characteristics of idiots [Down,  1866] purported that various conditions could be characterized according to ethnic feature, and in particular that people affected with Trisomy 21 could be classified as “idiots with Mongolian features”, hence the term “mongolism” or “mongloid” that is also applied to people born with Trisomy 21.

Hard to believe… In any event this is one huge indicator of how much very respectful misunderstanding has surrounded people with Trisomy 21. A situation that is acknowledged by the NIH, for example, noting that 50 years after the discovery of Trisomy 21, the term "mongolism" is still widely and inappropriately used [NIH].

 If you would like to continue to tip the scales towards access and equality for all in celebration of this extra chromosome day, visit

 Or, you could just think 2 and add a third something to whatever..     .
Being born with Trisomy 21 is after all having something extra that no one else has.

Down, J.L. (1866). Observations on an ethnic classification of idiots. London Hospital Reports, 2:259-262.
WDSD – World Down Syndrome Day

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Oh, patents! Baby float

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Warmer days on the Pacific Coast…and lots of babies and tots enjoying their first Spring! 

Here is a design patent for loads of fun in the pool. Indeed, this is a flotation device with a sturdy mesh seat, designed to help baby become comfortable in the water while staying balanced and supported. This flotation device corresponds to Swim Step™1 introduction to water, out of three, for assistance in learning how to swim, marketed by the Swimways® at!

The baby float is sold with a removable sun canopy to protect from harmful UV rays and is available in a variety of models with, or without, surrounding activity center, and/or animal friends.

Designed to foster love of water and swimming, this float will keep your baby or toddler happy in the water!'

Below, you will find the Figure 5 drawing, a bottom up perspective on the baby float, disclosed in US design patent USD471614 titled Baby Float, and an image of one of the marketed products with a removable sun canopy!

Have a water-full™ Spring! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

International Women's Day 2014 at the UN

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Today, March 8, was International Women’s Day, celebrated with a very special invitation at the United Nations, in NYC, for men and boys to hold up one half of the sky and walk side by side with women on the path to equal rights.

Why? Because: equality for women is progress for all

This is the message that was reported and substantiated in a UN panel session convened on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2014, and it is the new foundation upon which the UN will devise a second set of development goals to end world poverty, once the UN Millennium Development Goals of the year 2000 expire at the end of this year.

Indeed, it was an extraordinary victory for women worldwide that equality and the empowerment of women was included as Goal No. 3 in the UN Millennium Development Goals of the year 2000, considering that 188 nations ratified recognition of the role of women in economic development beyond childbearing. And it should be even more interesting and extraordinary to see how good men and boys will respond to an explicit HE for SHE program in support of equal rights for women for the purposes of fostering development for all.

Please feel free to listen to this important invitation in the speeches of H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe, President of the United Nations General Assembly, and Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuke, Under Secretary and Executive Director of UN Women, directly at the UN Women Watch site:
You will also find in this webcast of the event plenty of additional data and information in the speeches of the other 3 members of this distinguished 2014 International Woman’s Day UN panel, including:
H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, who kept a promise to tell the world about female genital mutilations, and to speak in support of women activists seeking to put an end such practices;
Former US Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who called for Women Rights as Human Rights, 20 years ago; and 
Ms. Andrea Nunez, Vice President of the World YWCA Board, representing young women and civil society, working in the field to end child marriages and violence against women, and to support equal rights for women.
International Women’s Day at the UN (March 8, 2014)
UN Millennium goals