IF THERE’S ONE thing the men locked inside the Otay Mesa Detention Center want the world to know, it’s that Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia didn’t need to die. The 57-year-old passed away in a southern California hospital on May 6, becoming the first person in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody to lose their life to Covid-19. The men who knew him fear that he won’t be the last.
Senator Richard Burr’s potential insider trading issues, for which he’s being investigated, may have gotten quite a bit worse this week. A new report notes that on the same day Burr sold off a “significant percentage” of his stock holdings (while also telling the public not to worry about COVID-19), it turns out his brother-in-law just coincidentally decided to dump a bunch of stock too. Amazing!
… a company called CREOpoint that claims it has patented “Containing the Spread of Disinformation” and that it was now using it to “help contain the spread of COVID-19 disinformation.” Would that it were so, but that’s not how any of this works. Tellingly, the press release does not provide the patent number of any of the details about the patent — which should probably be your first sign that it’s utterly bogus. However, with a little sleuthing I was able to turn up the patent application… and it confirms that this is a ridiculous patent that never should have been approved. The official title is “Containing Disinformation Spread Using Customizable Intelligence Channels.”
AdvaMed, the medical device manufacturer trade group that represents more than 400 companies (including Siemens, GE Healthcare, and Philips, which are among the largest), wrote a letter to lawmakers in Massachusetts claiming that right to repair legislation “could result in maintenance and repairs of medical devices being performed by untrained personnel, and that inappropriate replacement parts may be used.”
AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY, the pro-corporate pressure group founded and funded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, wants employees to return to work despite desperate pleas from public health officials that people should stay home as much as possible to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Back in 2018, the disgraced biotech company Theranos sold its patent portfolio to Fortress Investment Group, a division of Softbank. Now two of those patents have wound up in the hands of a little-known firm called Labrador Diagnostics—and Labrador is suing a company called BioFire Diagnostics that makes medical testing equipment.And not just any medical testing equipment: BioFire recently announced it had developed three tests for COVID-19 using its hardware—tests that are due out later this month. But Labrador is asking a Delaware federal court to block the company from using its technology—presumably including the new coronavirus tests. As Stanford patent scholar Mark Lemley puts it, “this could be the most tone-deaf IP suit in history.”
Business Insider Italia explains that even though the original manufacturer was unable to supply the part, it refused to share the relevant 3D file with Fracassi to help him print the valve. It even went so far as to threaten him for patent infringement if he tried to do so on his own. Since lives were at stake, he went ahead anyway, creating the 3D file from scratch. According to the Metro article, he produced an initial batch of ten, and then 100 more, all for free. Fracassi admits that his 3D-printed versions might not be very durable or re-usable. But when it’s possible to make replacements so cheaply — each 3D-printed part costs just one euro, or roughly a dollar — that isn’t a problem. At least it wouldn’t be, except for that threat of legal action, which is also why Fracassi doesn’t dare share his 3D file with other hospitals, despite their desperate need for these valves. And if you’re wondering why the original manufacturer would risk what is bound to be awful publicity for its actions, over something that only costs one euro to make, a detail in the Business Insider Italia article provides an explanation: the official list price for a single valve is 10,000 euros — about $11,000.
REP. MATT GAETZ, R-Fla., decided to self-quarantine this week after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for a novel coronavirus, which causes the disease Covid-19, at the Conservative Political Action Conference late last month.But Gaetz’s decision to take time away from his job at Congress without the fear of losing pay or being fired is a right few Americans share. In fact, Gaetz voted to prohibit Florida residents from sharing that right.