Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Costly Facts

From Matier and Ross, San Francisco Chronicle:

In keeping with its tradition of big-name and big-bucks investigations, the University of California will pay up to $210,000 for an independent look into allegations that President Janet Napolitano’s office interfered with a recent state audit into its spending habits.

UC will pay the law firm of Hueston Hennigan a “blended” rate of $595 an hour for partners who work on the investigation and $395 an hour for associates. The tab will be capped at $165,000, unless the UC regents give the OK to spend more. In addition, UC is tapping former state Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno to help with the investigation for a fee “not to exceed $45,000.”

The investigation was prompted by a state audit that found that Napolitano’s office had squirreled away $175 million and had tampered with campuses’ responses to a state survey on the effectiveness of programs run by the president’s office. While $210,000 for an investigation is a hefty price, it is just a fraction of the $1 million that the president’s office spent investigating allegations of wrongdoing by former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. That probe, headed by former U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, led to Katehi’s resignation in August.

In 2012, UC paid $445,879 to the security consulting firm Kroll Associates to help with a task force headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso looking into the pepper spaying of student demonstrators by UC Davis police.

More recently, the president’s office spent $57,671 on the probe into how outgoing UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks received a free campus gym membership, personal training sessions and an elliptical machine — perks that totaled all of about $5,000.

Monica Lozano, who chairs the Board of Regents, declined to discuss the review of the president’s office while it is under way. As for the other investigations, UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said UC had “a legal and ethical responsibility to determine the facts when there is credible evidence that might suggest improper activity.”


Senate Hearing

The Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. Senate held a hearing yesterday on "Free Speech 101: The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses." As the title suggests, it focused on complaints over incidents (such as at Berkeley) in which speakers were prevented from speaking and related matters. Blog readers can see the hearings at:

Witness statements are at:

Witnesses: Mr. Zachary R. Wood, Student, Williams College; Mr. Frederick M. Lawrence, Secretary And CEO, Phi Beta Kappa Society; Mr. Isaac Smith, Student, University Of Cincinnati College of Law, Graduate Of Ohio University; Dr. Fanta Aw, Interim Vice President Of Campus Life, American University; Professor Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law; Mr. Richard Cohen, President, Southern Poverty Law Center; Mr. Floyd Abrams, Senior Counsel, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP.

No specific legislation was discussed. Readers might have an interest in remarks by Sen. Diane Feinstein of California who raised the question of what university officials were expected to do when violence is threatened.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

UC CRISPR Patent in China

West Wing of  Old Patent Office Building, c1900
Intellia holds rights to CRISPR intellectual property developed by the Regents of the University of California (UC), the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D., a director at the Max-Planck Institute in Berlin, through a 2014 license agreement with Caribou Biosciences, the exclusive licensee of the UC and University of Vienna. Those rights include human therapeutic, prophylactic, and palliative uses (including companion diagnostics), excluding antifungal and antimicrobial applications.
CRISPR ownership has been at the heart of a bitter legal battle royal with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. A researcher based at the Institute, Feng Zhang, Ph.D., is listed an inventor on 12 patents related to CRISPR technology awarded in the U.S.
In February, the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sided with the Broad Institute by finding “no interference in fact” between the 12 patents, and a patent application by Dr. Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., of UC Berkeley. UC, University of Vienna, and Dr. Charpentier are appealing the PTAB decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
China’s plans to grant a patent for CRISPR come less than a year after the nation has seen two clinical trials involving the technology...
“SIPO’s decision further expands our IP portfolio and is further global recognition that Jennifer Doudna, Emmanuelle Charpentier, and their team are the pioneers in the application of CRISPR/Cas9 in all cell types,” Nessan Bermingham, Ph.D., Intellia’s CEO and president, said in a statement.
In March, Intellia and Caribou—co-founded by one of the original CRISPR researchers, Dr. Doudna, of UC Berkeley—joined ERS Genomics and CRISPR Therapeutics in signing a global cross-consent and invention management agreement for the foundational intellectual property covering CRISPR/Cas9 with the Regents of UC, the University of Vienna, and Dr. Charpentier.
That intellectual property underlies patents awarded by the European Patent Office and the United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office earlier this year. Those patents were issued from an international patent application based on the same U.S. priority applications filed by UC, University of Vienna, and Dr. Doudna on May 25, 2012.
The EPO acted on European patent application No. 13793997, which had been challenged by parties that include the Broad Institute.

Monday, June 19, 2017

What is the actual status of DREAMERs?

We earlier posted the statement of UC prez Janet Napolitano heralding the president's decision to continue the DREAMER program.* After that time, there have been reports on conservative websites that the president didn't in fact make such a decision. However, the official government (Dept. of Homeland Security) statement says otherwise (kind of):

Q. Does this mean that DACA recipients will not be able to apply for a three-year work authorization, as established in the DAPA memorandum?

A. DACA recipients will continue to be eligible as outlined in the June 15, 2012 memorandum. DACA recipients who were issued three-year extensions before the district court’s injunction will not be affected, and will be eligible to seek a two-year extension upon their expiration. No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates. 
Of course, the president, at some future date, could change the policy. But at present, the policy is as above. So:

"DAPA and DACA are two different programs,” a spokeswoman for DHS said. “Yesterday, based on litigation, the administration decided to rescind DAPA. The fact that DACA [DREAMER program] was not rescinded by the same memo should not be interpreted as bearing any relevance on the long-term future of that program.” She continued, “The future of the DACA program continues to be under review with the administration.”


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Marilyn Monroe Checks Card Catalog at UCLA Powell Library

Marilyn Monroe Checks Card Catalog at UCLA Powell Library in 1952

Saturday, June 17, 2017

DREAMER statement

UC President Napolitano statement on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program

Friday, June 16, 2017

University of California President Janet Napolitano today (June 16) released the following statement after the Department of Homeland Security issued its guidance on the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA:

I applaud reports that the Trump administration will maintain the DACA program that for the past five years has allowed hundreds of thousands of students known as Dreamers to live, work and study in the United States. This common sense approach to immigration enforcement, implemented while I served as secretary of homeland security, benefits not only the program recipients — thousands of whom are students at the University of California — but our nation as a whole. DACA recipients continue to contribute their talents and vision to the United States, the country they know as home. Our communities are enriched by their drive and perseverance to succeed, a hallmark of a nation built by immigrants and a crucial reminder of the need for comprehensive immigration reform.