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Legal Bisnow
    January 4, 2012  
DNA Attacks

Need a jumpstart in 2013? Join us for a Back to Business Schmoozarama, Wed. Jan. 16, 6-8pm at Fujimar. Open bar and top networking. Sign up now!

2013 is the the year of the snake, but maybe that's an allusion to the shape of DNA. Drinker Biddle’s Mercedes Meyer tells us ongoing attacks on DNA will stir the IP industry’s next wave of cases.

We snapped Mercedes in her corner office with a cuddly stuffed streptococcus bacterium (better than teddy bears if you’re a virology PhD, as she is). The IP partner, recently inducted American IP Law Association secretary, testified on behalf of the organization before the USPTO about genetic testing and the America Invents Act. Current attacks on DNA are coming from cases like Prometheus and Myriad. The Supreme Court recently granted Myriad cert for this year (after previously granting it then remanding it back to the Federal Circuit), ensuring that the debate over gene patent eligibility will be a hot topic again in ’13.  

Kane (OfficeShred2) MLDC

Judging by artwork on Mercedes’ door, there exists a (surprising) abundance of cartoons featuring gene patent lawsuits. Mercedes tells us she knew she wanted to go to law school since clerking at a firm in the ‘80s but picked up a PhD along the way to make herself “more marketable.”

The AIPLA recently took Mercedes to Japan and the Japanese IP High Court after Thanksgiving, to visit with its Japanese Patent Attorneys Association. After the success of an initial trip in '11, it went annual. Here, she's with its first female president, Sumiko Shimosaka.

Sips & Suppers Satisfies

Jose Andres, Joan Nathan, and Alice Waters (fashionable in orange) request your appetite at two amazing evenings featuring America’s finest chefs. The two-day Sips & Suppers events support DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table, which serve DC’s neediest. On Jan. 26 at the Newseum, Sips will feature top chefs and mixologists and their signature offerings for 500 guests. For the next day's Suppers event, celebrity chefs will create intimate dinners in two dozen homes. Many are already sold out. To find out more and to give, visit www.sipsandsuppers.org.

Banks Behaving Badly

The Swiss are known for timepieces, chocolate, and as of yesterday, having the first foreign bank to be recently hit with criminal charges by the US. The oldest Swiss bank, Wegelin, was charged with helping wealthy Americans evade taxes over more than 10 years by hiding over $1.2 billion in accounts overseas. After "the matter is finally concluded" the bank, founded in 1742, will no longer "operate as a bank." BakerHostetler national tax controversy practice leader James Mastracchio says "this is an unprecedented plea by a foreign institution subjecting itself to US jurisdiction." He reps clients facing criminal tax fraud investigation and prosecutions, and put out a book on the subject in '07.


It's the latest of a slew of discoveries of bank misbehavior, including HSBC and ING admitting to moving hundreds of millions for drug cartels and countries under US trade sanctions including Cuba and Iran. James recommends that account holders with Wegelin or other foreign financial institutions consider making voluntary disclosures. The '12 disclosure program is still open. Yesterday's guilty plea is a "watershed moment" for the US effort to hold tax evaders (and those who help them) accountable.

Send new story ideas for the new year to Roksana@bisnow.com.
Currys (NeverWorry2) LDC
Cardinal (Cook2) LDC
DC Central (Sips) LEGAL
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