Monday, January 30, 2006

Ortiz Praises Proposed IP Policies -- With Caveats

A key California legislator and the California stem cell agency seem to be edging closer to an agreement on how the state should benefit from inventions funded by CIRM.

The latest indication came in identical letters Monday from Sen. Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento, to Robert Klein and Ed Penhoet, chair and vice chair respectively of the agency. She praised the draft intellectual property policies that are expected to come before the Oversight Committee on Feb. 10. She said they would help ensure that CIRM-funded inventions "are freely available to researchers, that California taxpayers see a return on their investment, and that all Californians have access to the stem cell therapies made possible through Proposition 71."

Ortiz is chair of the Senate Health Committee and author of a proposed constitutional amendment dealing with stem cell IP issues, among other matters. She has indicated that the concerns motivating the measure could be satisfied without actually placing the measure on the ballot.

However, she said that the proposed IP policies should be regarded as a floor for IP agreements and that the Oversight Committee "should negotiate higher economic benefits for the state when feasible without impeding important research."

She said they should not preclude the state from requiring a larger share of royalties if taxable bonds are used to fund the research. She also said that the proposed policy to require sale of CIRM-based therapies at the lowest cost to the state should be extended to county health programs and community clinics.

A copy of the Ortiz letter follows below since it is not available on the Web at the time of this writing.

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