Timed perfectly to coincide with today's Federal Circuit decision in Prometheus Labs v. Mayo Clinic, the following patent issued yesterday. Here's claim 1:
U.S. Patent No.
Use of onion extracts to prevent and treat acute and chronic cardiac and vascular complications and their sequelae, as well as to resolve hematomas
Inventors: Attila Mady & Juliana Mady
1. A method of treating hematomas comprising the steps of:
providing an extract of onion (Allium cepa); and
topically applying the onion extract to or proximate an area of a hematoma, for transdermal delivery to increase and accelerate hematoma resorption.
Commentary: If the CAFC is correct that "[C]laims to methods of treatment...are always transformative when a defined group of drugs is administered to the body to ameliorate the effects of an undesired condition." then there's no Bilski problem (assuming onion extract is a defined group of drugs).
Of course, there may be other 101 problems, like utility. For instance, in looking at the healing effects of onions, here's what the inventors said:
Onions are even more ignored [than garlic]. Used in multiple cultures worldwide as a blood thinner and "cardiac tonic", there has nevertheless been very little research regarding its composition and effects. Yet there is not only overwhelming evidence that the onion contains compounds that have a profound impact on the entirety of hemostasis (including platelet function and the coagulation cascade), but this evidence is obvious and easily demonstrable in standard platelet and coagulation assays.
However, the most obvious and dramatic effect of onions is on thrombolysis. Topical application of sufficient amounts of onion juice to a site anywhere approximate to a hematoma (and at sufficiently frequent intervals, approximately every 6 hours) will result in the absorption of said hematoma even days after the formation of this hematoma. Even more remarkably, re-absorption shall occur at sites where there is NEVER reabsorption without surgical drainage, such as sub-periosteal pretibial and olecranon hematomas. Due to the absence of blood flow in these areas, an incision and drainage are always necessary to prevent the progression to fibrosis and the development of permanent tissue deformity.
Hematoma resorption does not only occur in places where it never would under spontaneous circumstances, but is also accelerated, meaning absorption occurs more rapidly (approximately 5-7 times faster than without onion juice). Hematoma resorption is also more complete, reducing the incidence of residual hemosiderin deposition. Finally, hematoma resorption will occur long after it would on a spontaneous basis, up to a week after the initial injury. There is no other thrombolytic known that works beyond approximately 12 hours after initial clot formation.
Further, there is also one report that attributes direct anti-arrhythmic effects to garlic (WO9405307). If this is true, it would be logical to assume that onions would also be likely to possess these properties, since onion juice is vastly more active in terms of its impact on the hemostatic mechanism than garlic. This antiarrhythmic property, however, is only conjecture at this point.
There are no citations to documented research or empirical evidence to back up most of these statements, however. Is the utility of the claimed invention "credible" to a person of ordinary skill in the art? (MPEP 2107) (This is an honest question...I'm no POSITA here.)
Other interesting notes:
- Did you suspect this was a pro se inventor? Look at the originally filed claims on PAIR to remove all doubt. Actually, when the 112-ridden first office action came back, the inventor wisely hired an attorney to clean up the claims into a meaningful form. And then promptly revoked the POA to continue pro se. Nice.
- Practice Tip #1: When filing an Accelerated Examination application, be sure not to have any missing parts. That's fatal. (Here, the wait was not much longer, with a first office action coming just seven months after filing. The applicant owed $420 for four extra independent "claims".)
- Practice Tip #2: If you are going to have a "Background" section, try to keep it SHORTER than the rest of the specification. Remember that the Background is the one section that is not required by statute (i.e., 112) or rule (e.g., 1.71 - 1.75), yet it is the one section that is admitted prior art. You do the math.
- Dr. Mady (yes, he is apparently an M.D.) is the named inventor on another patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,328,764 for a Primary axis prosthetic joint design. That patent, unlike this one, contains figures. But Dr. Mady happened to file nine other patent applications on the same day as the '784 patent. Check 'em out:
20090093856 High fidelity electronic tactile sensor and stimulator array, including sexual stimulus
20090093783 Use of vacuum suction in conjunction with diapers.
20090093782 Mask to compress face
20090092794 Turgor shaping. Control of shape and rigidity through the use of pressure transmitting channel patterns (hydraulic channel arrays).
20090092693 Platelet manipulation to prevent and treat endovascular disease and its sequelae, to prevent and treat arrhythmias and to prevent malignancy
20090090671 Apparatus to assist platelet manipulation to prevent and treat endovascular disease and its sequelae
20090090369 Condom Valve
20090090368 Adhesive condom and deployment
20090089934 Gradient bed
To answer the immediate questions:
1) the diaper vacuum appears to be aimed at elder care, not babies.
2) The condom valve has two uses: "to permit re-use with the same partner, or to permit the transmission of semen and thus permit conception as a result of intercourse while retaining the protective effect of barrier type infection control." Sort of like keeping the top down on the convertible when it's raining.
And according to Dr. Mady, "[C]ondoms are completely useless for the prevention of the transmission of the herpes virus. Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and even HIV are only partially prevented with condoms." Not to get political, but is that the message we've been teaching in our kids' sex ed classes??
3) No, I don't expect Judge Posner to sit by designation as an examiner to weigh in on the obviousness of any of these inventions.
4) None of these other applications have yet been allowed.