Friday, October 12, 2007

10/12/07 - Web Design Help; When to Patent


1. Health Freedom Blog Update / Factoids
2. Contracting with your web designer
3. More on the Chinese ingredient crunch
4. Where are the FDA’s AER Regs?
5. When to patent?
6. Web Design Simple Mistakes and Golden Rules

1. Vitamin Lawyer Health Freedom Blog –
New Posting -

Expanded and updated AER (Adverse Event Reporting) web site, with draft AER Guide:

Factoids: “Food and ingredient prices are growing at a faster pace in China than anywhere else in the world”


2. Contracting with your web designer

I've seen so many clients have awful problems with web designers!

Here's the issue from the designer's viewpoint:

And this one from the company's perspective:

These together should give you a handle on the problem.

3. More on the Chinese ingredient crunch…

High energy and commodity prices have plagued companies at all levels of the food industry for the past few years.

Over the past couple of years alone major players such as CP Kelco, FMC Biopolymer, BASF, Novozymes, Cargill, Danisco and DSM, have all hiked up their prices for products ranging from vitamins E and B3, to sugar molasses and citric acid.

This month DSM announced a ten per cent price increase for all its citric acid, produced in Belgium, on a worldwide basis. The increase, which is effective immediately, was "due to cost increases in raw materials and in energy".

In the wake of "sharp increases" in raw materials, in September the firm further announced a 10 per cent rise in global prices for vitamin E supplies. Orafti pushed up prices of its Beneo fibre ingredient by six per cent.

Bio Springer also said rising costs and shrinking supply of sugar molasses were driving up the cost of yeast extract production, announcing a double digit price increase for its extracts as of next year. Sugar molasses are the main raw material for yeast extracts but over the past three years the cost of sugar molasses has risen by 10 per cent. Energy prices and the impact of the EU's sugar reform were blamed.

This summer Swiss biotech company Lonza announced a worldwide price hike of up to 12 per cent for vitamin B3 in a bid to pass-on increasing production costs…

For more see:

4. Where are the FDA’s AER Regulations?

Industry criticizes FDA for failure to act - where are the FDA regulations?
Companies turning to private experts for guidance.

10/09/07 - FDA must commit to AER guidance
Functional Ingredients Staff

"The detailed data required under new adverse event reports (AERs) laws, need to be made transparent sooner rather than later, a major trade group has told the United States Food and Drug Administration. The Maryland-based American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has requested what it considers an overdue guidance document to give the supplements industry a clearer idea of what is expected of them when the law kicks in on December 22. FDA guidance was expected on September 19 but has yet to see the light of day.

"AHPA is charging the FDA with failing to provide necessary guidance and made its thoughts known in a formal letter to the FDA and its parent agency, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act will require serious AERs to be submitted to the FDA. The Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to "issue guidance on the minimum data elements that should be included in a serious adverse event report as described under the amendments made by this Act."

"Congress clearly intended that businesses would have at least 90 days to digest the FDA's guidance and make any necessary changes to their staff or procedures in order be ready to comply with the law when it goes into effect," said AHPA president Michael McGuffin. "The clock is ticking."

For more information on private alternatives to meet the statutory requirements:
5. When to patent.

This is a good background article on patenting: “Patently wise: what, how and where to patent” by Michel Morency and James Ewing

October 10, 2007 - Patent protection can be an effective tool for excluding competitors and generating revenues, if used wisely and married to a company's business strategy. Conversely, obtaining patents can quickly become an expensive and wasteful proposition if done haphazardly and not tied to an effective business strategy.

With the nutraceutical industry spending more and more resources on research and development, companies are turning to patents to protect their new products and investments. However, to get the most out of a patent, manufacturers need to familiarize themselves with the limits and potential of the process.

The first step in designing an effective patent strategy is to understand what a patent can and cannot do for the owner. A patent does permit the patent owner to exclude competitors from making, using, importing and selling the invention, as claimed in the patent.

The fact that a commercial product is described in the patent application is of no use if it is not covered by the scope of the claims. Accordingly, it is important to continuously monitor any claim amendments and any change to the product to ensure that the claims actually cover the final commercial product. A patent does not grant the patent owner the right to make, use, or sell the invention if doing so would infringe another party's patent.

Therefore, a patent strategy should always include a review of third party patents...

Finally, it is important to note that a patent can only be enforced in its country of origin… Obtaining patent protection in several countries can be a very expensive ordeal. The filing and translation costs alone can reach $10,000-15,000 per country. Costs of securing patent protection in a large number of countries can easily reach multiples of $100K or millions over the lifetime of the patents.

A common international patent strategy is to pursue patents in key developed health care markets including the US, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia... A common misconception is that a company needs to obtain a patent in each and every country in which the product will be sold. A patent is not required to make, use, or sell in a given country; it is only useful to exclude competitors… Your patents are an important asset to your company…

Michel (Mike) Morency, Ph.D., LL.B., is a partner in Foley's Boston office… He can be contacted … via email at - James F. Ewing, Ph.D., J.D., is senior counsel in Foley's Boston office… He can be contacted … via email at


eMail me: with "provisional patent" in subject line!


6. Web Design - Simple Mistakes and Golden Rules

Excerpts from: Entireweb Newsletter * October 11, 2007 * ISSUE #378 *

Good web design … sticking to a small set of guiding principles and avoiding some very common mistakes…

1. Keep Everything Obvious - Don't Make Me Think… Visitors to a website expect certain conventions, breaking these is a great way of losing visitors. People expect to find the navigation at the top of a page or on the left hand side. Logos are mostly found on the top left. Much research has been conducted into how people view and use web pages. The good news is that you do not to know all of this; instead look at how larger companies such as eBay, Amazon, Google, Microsoft structure their pages and the language they use, then emulate them.

2. Limit Colours - A website using too many colours at a time can be overwhelming to many users… Limiting a palette to 2 or 3 colours will nearly always lead to a slicker looking design…

3. Be Careful With Fonts - The set of fonts available to all visitors of a website is relatively limited… It is advisable to stick to fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Courier, Times, Geneva and Georgia… Black text on a white background is far easier for the majority of people to read than white text on a black background. If you have large amounts of text then a white or pale background is far more user friendly. Always ensure that there is a good contrast between any text and its background…

4. Plan for Change - …The ability to add or remove content from a website is fundamental… Understanding how to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), avoiding unconventional layouts and complicated backgrounds will all help enormously.

5. Be Consistent - Again, don't make your visitors think! About how to use your site at least. If your navigation is at the top on your homepage, it should be at the top on all other pages too. If your links are coloured red ensure the the same convention is used on all sections…

6. Keep it Relevant - A picture is better than a thousand words but if the picture you took on holiday is not relevant to your Used Car Sales website then you should really replace it … If you can take something off of your web page without it adversely affecting the message, appearance or legality of your website you should do it without hesitation… Keeping your content focused will ultimately help your search-engine rankings.

7. Become a CSS Expert - Cascading Style Sheets should be any web designer's best friend. CSS makes it is possible to separate the appearance and layout of your page from the content. This has huge benefits when it comes to updating and maintaining your site, making your site accessible and making your site easy for search engines to read…

8. Avoid Complexity - Using standard layouts for your web page will save you development time and make your site easier to use…

The principles above all border on common sense and are well known to most people, yet so many sites continue to deviate away from them and suffer as a consequence. Following these principles will help you keep away from trouble, although it still doesn't guarantee it!

About the Author: Paul has worked as a programmer and in Web Design for over 15 years. -

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