Re: some U.S. observations and notes

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Wed Jan 02 2002 - 11:08:34 MST

On Tue, Jan 01, 2002 at 11:46:07AM -0800, James Rogers wrote:
> On 1/1/02 3:23 AM, "Charlie Stross" <> wrote:
> > Compare, for example,
> > the approach to cloning and embryonic stem cell research in various parts
> > of the EU with the near-total ban instituted by the current US government,
> > and you'll see one area where -- if Ashcroft and GWB don't change their
> > mind -- the US is going to definitely end up on the trailing edge.
> This will be somewhat complicated by the fact that very substantial portions
> of the patents on these technologies are owned by US biotech companies. It
> would make for an interesting market.

Even more interesting given that the scope of some patents may be
restricted, because patent law is not global in scope! The WIPO
treaty has standardized this to some extent, but it's by no means
universal -- some patent offices will let you patent *anything*
while others are more selective.

See for example US patent #5,965,809, "Method of bra size determination
by direct measurement of the breast" (at:,965,809).

This is a junk patent -- as my partner points out, she's been fitted for
bras by this method for decades! And I suspect it would be tossed out
by any patent office that didn't grade officers by the number of patents
they passed.

Madness, madness.

-- Charlie

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