Public Hearings Concerning the Evolving Intellectual Property Marketplace #540872-00041

Submission Number:
Carl Gulbrandsen
Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
Initiative Name:
Public Hearings Concerning the Evolving Intellectual Property Marketplace
May 15, 2009 The Honorable Jon Leibowitz Chairman, Federal Trade Commission Office of the Secretary 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20580 RE: Evolving IP Marketplace - Comment, Project No. P093900 Dear Chairman Leibowitz: On behalf of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation ("WARF"), these comments are submitted into the public record for the inquiry of the Commission on the "Evolving IP Marketplace". We commend you for your leadership and express our gratitude for the opportunity to respond to the Commission’s inquiry. WARF is the non-profit patent management organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Pursuant to agreements, WARF, through its non-profit subsidiary, WiSys, also represents the patent interests of the entire University of Wisconsin System. The WARF mission, to support scientific research at the University of Wisconsin, is accomplished by transferring university technology to the marketplace for the benefit of the university, the inventors and the public. Licensing income is returned to the university to fund further scientific research. Founded in 1925, shortly after the creation of the Commission (in 1914), WARF is one of the oldest organizations in the United States engaged in university technology transfer. Over its 84-year existence, WARF has not only protected the fruits of scientific research, it has actually contributed close to $1 billion of licensing income to cutting-edge UW-Madison scientific research. WARF’s contribution last year was $58 million. Of greater significance is the fact that WARF’s technology transfer successes have had a profound and positive effect on the welfare, health, and safety of humankind. Five successes, among many more, are illustrative. • First, Professor Hector DeLuca at the UW-Madison has numerous vitamin derivatives (protected by close to 200 U.S. patents) that are widely being used today to treat osteoporosis, renal disease, and other dreaded diseases. • Second, Professor James Thomson’s human embryonic stem cell lines have unprecedented potential for research and clinical application of presently untreatable illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. Pursuant to a patent licensing agreement with Geron, the Wisconsin cells will be used by Geron in the first human clinical trial recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. WARF through WiCell (the home of the National Stem Cell Bank (in Madison, WI)) has distributed the cells to researchers around the world. • Third, MRI medical imaging technology represents a critically successful collaboration between the academic environment and private industry. GE Medical has engaged in active collaborations with a number of academic institutions, including Wisconsin and Stanford University. Without those collaborations, sophisticated imaging capabilities would not be available today to diagnose a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. • Fourth, digital subtraction angiography has allowed real-time visualization of coronary arteries to determine blockage. This technology is critical to modern cardiac patient care. First developed by UW Professor Charles Mistretta, applied research and development by the private sector have made the technology clinically useful. • Fifth, Karl Paul Link’s discovery of coumarin is the basis for Coumadin, the most widely prescribed blood thinner for cardiovascular disease. Its counterpart, Warfarin (named after WARF), is still the most widely used rodenticide worldwide. The benefit to the consuming public derived from these and other inventions is incalculable. For more information about the roster of UW-Madison discoveries patented and licensed by WARF, see . Consumers benefit when university research is disclosed thereby stimulating and promoting further innovation and the competition of ideas. After being reduced to practi Please see attachment for complete response