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    Invention Firm invented 60M scam, say feds; Sloppy Science
    Posted on Saturday, September 29, 2007 @ 13:50:03 MST by vlad

    Legal From KeelyNet.com: It's a challenge to transform an invention from an idea to a product on a store shelf. Just recently, a federal judge ordered the operators of multiple questionable invention promotion firms to pay $60 million in connection with a scheme that defrauded 17,000 inventors. For fees of $895 to $1,295, PTI and its related businesses promised to evaluate the marketability and patentability of inventors' ideas. But the firms gave virtually all inventions positive evaluations, so the assessments were meaningless, the Federal Trade Commission reported.

    PTI charged inventors up to $45,000 for alleged legal protection and assistance to obtain commercial licenses for their inventions. The inventors were also told that PTI would help them earn substantial royalties from their inventions. But investigators said PTI neither helped consumers license their inventions nor enabled clients to earn any royalties. Consumers who have complaints about PTI should call the FTC at (202) 326-2926 for more information. Other inventors should question the assurances of any promotion firm before entering into a contract, the FTC added.


    Sloppy Science

    A recent Wall Street Journal write-up discussed the findings of one Dr. John Ioannidis, who has posited that most of the thousands of peer-reviewed research papers published every year are full of flawed findings and analysis. The vast majority of mistakes, he says, aren't purposeful, but stem from miscalculation, poor study design or self-serving data analysis. The summary to his widely-cited essay states, "Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias." The WSJ article claims that "To root out mistakes, scientists rely on each other to be vigilant. Even so, findings too rarely are checked by others or independently replicated. Retractions, while more common, are still relatively infrequent. Findings that have been refuted can linger in the scientific literature for years to be cited unwittingly by other researchers, compounding the errors." An ironic question to ask: Is Dr. Ioannidis study subject to the same flaws he ascribes to the rest of the scientific community? If his findings are true, what does this mean for hot-button topics such as Global Warming? -




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