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The scope of a patent claim also reflects the contribution of the invention to the research field. A pioneering invention that opens up a new field of technology is awarded a broader scope of protection than an invention that pertains only to a small improvement on an existing method. Awarding a broad patent does not as a rule prevent further development and improvement of the original invention. The explosion of biotechnology research in the USA and in Europe, notwithstanding the grant of a large number of patents, speaks for itself. This research has given rise to many more patents based on further work with existing, patented technology. The owner of such a 'dependent' patent has to obtain licences on all previous patents on which his invention is based. This could indeed lead to a blockade if the proprietor of an earlier, broader patent refuses to license his patent ( Merz et al , 2002 ). However, if those improvements are commercially interesting, it can be advantageous for the proprietor of the original patent to use this improved technology ( OECD, 2002 ). This situation, which occurs in most technical fields, often leads to cross-licensing agreements or so called patent pools, an agreement between two or more patent owners to license some of their patents to one another or to third parties. The variety of technical fields that are the subject of patent applications is shown in Fig 4 .

Nevertheless, the mere isolation of a natural substance is not sufficient for patentability: there must in addition be an inventive activity

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Figure 4

Top technical fields in applications to the European Patent Office.

During the examination of a patent application, the requirements of novelty and inventive step often lead to a restriction in the scope of claims, simply because broad patent claims are more likely to overlap with the prior art. If, for example, sequence variants having 50% identity with a given sequence are claimed, it is very likely that the claims would include known homologous sequences from other organisms or known sequences from the same organism. The claim would therefore lack novelty and would have to be restricted to a narrower scope. Furthermore, if the examiner has doubts that the invention can be performed over the whole breadth of the scope of the claim—for instance, with very distant variants of a protein that are unlikely to be biologically active—he can ask the applicant to provide further evidence to support the application.

It is often contended that it is difficult to 'invent around' a broad patent on a naturally occurring gene sequence ( Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 2002 ). With this reasoning—in particular referring to Myriad Pharmaceutical's patent on the BRCA1 gene ( Womens Climbing FlowersPrint Crepe Shirtdress byTiMo tOfYnYlu
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)—it has been alleged that broad patents on gene sequences might lead to monopolies, with detrimental effects on further research. However, the same argument can also be applied to other technical fields, in particular to pharmacy. Most drugs are based on a limited number of compounds that may be difficult to 'invent around'. Many constraints are imposed on the design of a new medicine. It must interact with specific molecules, must cross several physiological barriers in the body and should have few side effects. Moreover, small endogenous molecules, such as dopamine and oestradiol, were used as medicines long before the advent of biotechnology, and patents were granted on such molecules and their variants. Indeed, pharmaceutical companies have for years been avoiding litigation and costly legal battles by cross-licensing or patent pooling. It seems reasonable to suppose that biotechnology companies will follow their example.

Paul Armstrong Contributor i

Tent at Katapult

Katapult Future Fest has a lofty goal; ‘create action towards reaching and transcending the UN Sustainable Development Goals’. The idea is simple but robust; keynote presentations, in-depth fireside chats, panel discussions, workshops with speakers, investors and participants side by side. Add in a lot of jazzy pants, fold in a sauna or dock jump or two and bake forthree days in Oslo.

Now in its second year, Katapult is a breath of fresh air that talks the talk and walks the walk. From sustainability to making money, the crowd is a mixed bunch of investors, startups, political figures and city architects. Instead of simplybashing capitalism andtalking big possibilities, the crowd – or rather 'tribe' as they refer to themselves – genuinely wants to “un-f*ck the world" through, one second-time attendee described it, "smart collaborative thinking and a redrawing of the lines". The status quo isn't going to help people problems who aren't [in different countries]". The key differenceabout Katapult is the family-feel, the open introductions and the real focus on the money's impact. Investors sit amongst attendees, get their own investment day and then help startups to repitch. Katapult offers real investment opportunities immediately and after further down the lineaccording to attendees who returned this year.

The speakers are a diverse bunch; analysts grab a beer with MIT graduates meet corporate purpose advisors, AI-specialists knock heads with biology professors, investors teach swathes of younger people about what makes a good bet while Analysts drink withethicists while waiting in line to speak with the guy who thinks self-driving laboratories are going to save the plant. The panel I moderated on the 'Future of Work' featured an AR/VR expert (Rachel Sibley - look out for a separate post in the near future) who truly defines that word, an authority on automation (Muriel Clauson) and Markus Lehto and Eda Carmıklı of LifeWorkLabs, mavens who really understand thehuman spirit and how toharness true potential.

Kyle Nel (Uncommon Partners, ex-Lowes and Walmart) summed up the challenge for the crowd early on; “The future isn’t discreet.” Nel focused his talk on big corporate changes that “big boring companies” (like Lowes) have gone through to transform their business. The key message, it's not impossible but it takes a jolt if you want towin the awards and see real change. The message was clear, keep it simple and focus on the basic elements to tell stories that demand change from the listener whether they arethe CEO or the customer. “People don't change as fast as technology…we just think they do,” says Nel. It was Nel’s last example to do with Exoskeletons technology that most stayed with me. Instead of asking workers how the technology impacted their job, they asked how it impacted their life . Employees that used the exoskeleton responded they felt more energised at the end of the day, had better relationships with their family as a result and their outlook on life changed significantly. Work became a period of time again and not something that leaks into their private lives.

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There are many options to rejuvenate the hands. The options mainly includes non surgical options such as fat transfer, injectable fillers and laser skin resurfacing. Its best to meet a plastic surgeon to review your options. Thanks for the excellent question.

Daniel Park, MD

Why don't cell phone makers create a battery that charges without a cord, or even better, one that never dies? Why don't car manufacturers make engines that get 500 miles per gallon? The list of questions could go on and on. The bottom line is that plastic surgeons went to medical school and not magic school and there are limitations to what is possible. To my knowledge there is no reliable SHOW MORE

Why don't cell phone makers create a battery that charges without a cord, or even better, one that never dies? Why don't car manufacturers make engines that get 500 miles per gallon? The list of questions could go on and on. The bottom line is that plastic surgeons went to medical school and not magic school and there are limitations to what is possible. To my knowledge there is no reliable surgical procedure to tighten skin on hands. There are too many critical structures in the hand involved in movement and function and scars on the hand cause contracture if placed incorrectly. If you want to head off to medical school and then plastic surgery residency and then publish a paper on your experience with finger skin tightening, I am sure I and others would love to read it!

All joking aside, there are some procedures out there that can improve the appearance of skin on the hands. Skin procedures such as lasers and microneedling can improve the quality of the skin and often times fat grafting to the backs of the hands can improve the appearance of aging.

Hope this helps!

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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

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