Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wisconsin and California: Dueling Views on Stem Cell IP

Cyberspace is sizzling between California and Wisconsin in a stem cell contrempts involving Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, and John M. Simpson, the stem cell project director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumers Rights of Santa Monica, Ca.

Well, sizzling might be a little strong. But these two former newspaper editors are whacking each other around a bit.

It all started Aug. 11 with an opinion piece that Simpson wrote for the web site of the Wisconsin Technology Network.

In it, he argued that a basic question is being left not entirely answered as states step up to the stem cell funding plate. He wrote:
"Who should control, profit, and otherwise benefit from discoveries made in state-funded laboratories across Wisconsin? How you settle such matters are known as intellectual property policy, and like most states, Wisconsin apparently doesn't have a coherent, across-the-board policy."
On Aug. 20, Still responded, also on the Wisconsin Technlogy Network:
"Not only does Simpson think the historic Bayh-Dole Act has been a colossal waste of time and money, even though many experts believe it unchained the innovative potential of the nation's research universities, but he doesn't understand the basics about 'technology transfer' on those same campuses."
Simpson responded in a comment filed Tuesday below Still's column:
"I never said the Bayh-Dole Act 'has been a colossal waste of time and money.' I said that it was 'flawed.' That means it has problems that need fixing. I also would assert that it ought not serve as the model for state funding programs without appropriate modification."
Simpson's final paragraph in his response to Still:
"Again, I do appreciate your thoughtful and carefully reasoned analysis of my first column. I'd ask you to ponder what I've just suggested and look forward to your comments."
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