Pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline has said it wants to make it easier for manufacturers in the world's poorest countries to copy its medicines. The British company said it would not file patents in these countries. Chief executive Sir Andrew Witty said he wanted to take a "graduated" approach to the company's "intellectual property" based on the wealth of nations around the globe. Experts have described the plans as "brave and positive". GSK hopes that by removing any fear of it filing for patent protection in poorer countries it will allow independent companies to make and sell versions of its drugs in those areas, thereby widening the public access to them.
The American and Chinese trade war is near to boiling. The American attempt to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has failed; China might be behind the Marriott data breach; and China might've caused a massive internet disruption. But one perpetual sore point between the US and China -- intellectual property (IP) abuse -- is taking a step for the better. Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial are joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), the pro-open source and Linux patent-protection group. Alibaba -- think of it as China's Amazon and eBay -- has a net worth of over $80 billion dollars.
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Filing a patent is the clerical equivalent of pulling teeth -- at least in the U.S. It first requires inventors to determine the type of intellectual property (IP) protection they require (i.e., utility, design, or plant). Then they're on the hook to conduct a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database search for similar inventions. If and only if the novelty of their idea passes muster are they allowed to proceed to the next step, which is preparing an application and fees. The system has motivated people like former aerospace engineer Dr. Stephen Thaler to turn to AI in pursuit of a better way. He, along with a team of legal experts and engineers, developed DABUS, a "creativity machine" that's able to generate ideas without human intervention.