PITCH PERFECT–WHEN YOU PITCH YOUR IDEA TO POTENTIAL INVESTORS?December 20, 2017 by Rick Martin FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail Since the debut of Shark Tank in 2009, a number of similar contests and competitions involving entrepreneurs publicly “pitching” their idea or invention to a group of people have arisen across the country. The general premise is that a select number of entrepreneurs have a limited amount of time (say 3 minutes) to pitch their idea to those in attendance. At the end of the evening a panel, or in some cases all those in attendance, vote for their favorite and awards are given for the best pitches. In some cases, seed money is awarded to the winning entrepreneurs to help move their project forward.For the entrepreneur, making such a public pitch before filing an application for patent protection is potentially devastating. Securing patent protection for an invention provides a huge competitive advantage to a start-up – the ability to exclude all others from making, using, importing, selling or offering to sell your patented invention for up to 20 years. In many cases, without proper patent protection, the barriers to entering the market are so low that good ideas can be legally copied by those with market influence leaving the entrepreneur/inventor empty handed. The best way to avoid such a devastating loss – file at least a provisional patent application that provides “full disclosure” of your invention prior to making your pitch.Prior to the America Invents Act (AIA), which took effect on March 13, 2013, inventors had a one-year grace period after a public disclosure to file their application for patent in the United States before that disclosure would be considered to be prior art barring issuance of a patent. The biggest change in the AIA was going from a “first to invent” system to a “first to file” system. Accordingly, if two patent applications are filed after March 13, 2013 claiming the same invention, the USPTO does not consider who was the first to “invent”, but rather who won the race to the Patent Office by filing first. An inventor who publicly pitches an idea before filing for patent protection runs the risk that someone in the audience will take that idea, modify or expand on it, and file for patent protection first, effectively precluding the pitching inventor from securing patent protection.Another potential problem that may arise when an inventor pitches before filing is the subsequent re-disclosure of the invention by a third party. Consider the following common scenario – Inventor discloses her idea at a Pitch Competition on December 22, 2016. A third party who was in attendance presents his “improvement” to the original pitch to potential investors on July 10, 2017. Inventor files her provisional application on December 21, 2017. One would think that the one-year grace period clearly applies under these circumstances. However, the answer, as is often the case in the law, is not so clear cut.Under the AIA, the inventor’s ability to overcome the July 10, 2017 third party prior art is significantly limited. First, in order to avoid the third party prior art, the inventor must first prove that the third party did indeed obtain the information form the inventor. If third party was in attendance at the December 22, 2016 presentation, proof of that may not be too difficult. However, as is often the case, the third party may have received the information indirectly such as from another person who was in attendance. As the link to the original presentation becomes more distant, it becomes more difficult to prove the third party’s disclosure was obtained from the inventor. If such a situation arises, affidavits must be prepared and filed with the USPTO during the prosecution of the patent application, adding significant time and cost to the process of obtaining a patent.All of this can be avoided by simply filing an “appropriate” provisional application before the pitch is made. For the application to be “appropriate”, it must include a written description that enables a person of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention. Thus, while a provisional application can be a useful tool for establishing an early filing date, simply filing academic papers, white papers, inventor notes or anything else that may be lying around does not necessarily provide protection. Therefore, when filing a provisional application, it is a good idea to seek the assistance of a registered patent attorney or agent who is experienced and familiar with the written description requirement of the USPTO.To further complicate the one-year grace period, it can often times be difficult to establish just exactly when the grace period begins. Clearly, pitching your invention at a pitch completion attended by the public would trigger the start of the grace period. But looking deeper, was there some other activity that you engaged in earlier that may have triggered an earlier start to the grace period? Has there been another earlier “public” disclosure of the invention or an “offer to sell” the invention? There are a variety of risks associated with reliance on the one-year grace period that make it easy for an inventor to misjudge the actual beginning and end dates of the grace period.Lastly, if you have global aspirations for your invention (which you should), most other countries have no such grace period, and such prior public disclosures are considered to be an “absolute bar” to obtaining patent protection. Australia and Canada operate under a 12-month grace period similar to the United States. Japan, Europe and the UK operate under a 6-month grace period, but under very limited circumstances. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) maintains a for a number of countries throughout the world. The filing of an appropriate US provisional application prior to any public disclosure as discussed above effectively gives a one-year grace period from the date of filing to the inventor for purposes of pursuing foreign patents. A knowledgeable patent attorney will be able to devise a filing strategy to best fit the needs of any inventor.Are you about to pitch your idea to potential investors and/or the public in a pitch competition and concerned about protecting your patent rights? If so, contact us to see how we can help BEFORE you pitch and potentially compromise your patent rights.EDITORS FOOTNOTES: Martin IP Law Group is not a typical law firm. Their practice focuses on Intellectual Property – Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights and Trade Secrets. They will help you build value in your business by protecting your ideas, inventions and identity, including:Identifying and assessing the value of intellectual property;Preparing and prosecuting US and International patent and trademark applications.Preparing freedom-to-operate opinions, validity/invalidity opinions and infringement/ non-infringement opinions.Conducting due diligence of third party IP portfolios for acquisition, litigation and/or design-around.Conducting negotiations and drafting agreements relating to assignment, licensing, and other transactions affecting intellectual property. If you have any questions concerning Patents | Trademarks | Copyrights please contact Mr. Martin at 318 Main Street | Suite 503 | Evansville, IN 47708 ( 812.492.4478 | [email protected] or |www.IPSolutionsLaw.com
Vandemoortele, the Belgian food group, has confirmed the management structure of its Lipids and Dough Division in the UK.Heading up its UK commercial activities is Adrian Roberts, commercial director UK (right). Those reporting to him include: Gordon Kirkwood, commercial director fats & oils; and Els Vancoille, commercial director for professional products, industry – dough.
As BB reported last issue, calls to cut salt in food are showing no signs of quieting down, with bakers still public enemy number one as far as people’s salt intake goes at least in the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) eyes. Controlling salt levels is no mean feat just ask the government, which found it conspicuously difficult when the snow hit earlier this year. So what can bakers do to help the government reach its salt reduction targets and perhaps save a bit back for gritting the pavements?Over the years, salt levels in bread increased to overcome the lack of flavour from the adoption of short-time dough-making techniques. This peaked in the 1970s at 2.2% on flour. Great gains have been made to cut salt since then, but last year, the Food Standards Agency set a 2012 salt target of 1g per 100g for bread and rolls. This level is lower than the 2010 target of 1.1g.In this spirit, BB conducted a tasting panel of reduced sodium recipes. Taste-testing for salt in products is a notoriously tricky exercise, given that one’s palate is easily influenced by salt. So we’re making no claim to a definitive judgement on these ingredients, and of course people adapt to changes in salt levels over time.Salt has two important functions, to help stabilise the gluten structure of the dough and to impart flavour. So we just wanted a view on how consumers reacted to changes in formulation across three factors: cutting salt levels; salt alternatives; and flavour enhancers. Not every product of its type on the market has been benchmarked. The panel was relatively small, involving 12 tasters in each test.Two standard products were picked a bread roll and a hot cross bun. Would people be able to tell the difference? And would any change in recipe be less noticeable in a spiced product?BB approached John Haynes of JRH Associates a consultant specialising in bread projects and food assignments to run some tests. With decades of experience in bakery not least, breaking the field-to-loaf Guinness World Record Haynes said he liked unusual bread recipes and formats. He got his chance, with a salt alternative made from seaweed.All doughs were treated in the same conditions. When it came to dough performance with the hot cross buns, “volume after proving with Test 2 was larger than all other tests,” says Haynes; Test 3, containing Asco (seaweed), was tight and needed 1% extra addition of water; and the dough with Test 6 was light brown in colour. All other doughs performed similarly.With the bread rolls, “Test 2 was slightly larger at the end of proof and did not collapse in the oven,” he says, while the dough in Test 3 “was very discoloured and an extra 1% of water was added”. However, the colour of the crumb improved after baking. Test 6, The Fermex ingredient, “was difficult to mix into the dough”, thus why we abandoned it for the taste test, but it was “very golden brown in colour and had a good flavour profile after baking”, he explains. Test 8 was slow in proof, so proved for 60 minutes, but resulted in “nice bold rolls”, he adds.And the outcome? With the control bread rolls, which had a calculated sodium content of 0.50g, the best result on taste came from Test 8, which had a salt level of 0.5% with the addition of an Italian Natural Yeast (BFL Levis+); this has a sodium content of 0.15g, a significant sodium reduction without apparent loss of flavour. Not far behind in points were the two Fermex sourdough-based flavour enhancers, followed by Kudos’ salt alternative. The saltier control came only fifth in the taste test. Many people complained that it was too salty.There was a marked difference with the hot cross buns. None of the samples ranked better overall than the control with 1.7% salt on flour weight although the Fermex and Kudos products were not far behind.”These baking results show that the addition of a flavouring additive or a blend of sodium and potassium chloride (Kudos low salt) can help replace the perceived flavour loss due to the lower salt additions,” says Dr John Allen of consultants MTA Associates. “Dried sourdough powders, sourced from Northern Europe have often been used to help replace the flavour loss, but they are an acquired taste for the UK consumer. Better results can be obtained from southern European products, as can be seen from the results of the ingredients used in this test.”Of course, there are cost implications to reducing salt, which is significantly cheaper than flour, let alone salt alternatives and flavour replacers. Successful sodium reductions can be achieved, but they will come at a cost, and until the consumer can see a benefit it is questionable whether they would pay extra.”Keys to the success of the sodium reduction campaign are for either a solid general industry-wide agreement; or provide some new additive that can replace the flavour lost associated with the salt reduction; or, as was suggested in the last issue of British Baker, replace some of the sodium chloride with potassium chloride.”So cutting salt levels is not the be-all and end-all of developing products to meet salt targets. The lesson is that there is no one-size-fits-all. Consumers’ expectations differ greatly and testing should be done on a product-by-product basis. The other lesson learned? Leave the seaweed to the fishes… [Please see 26 February issue of British Baker for test results and recipes]
Today, fast-rising Arizona jam quartet Spafford announced the coming release of their new album, For Amusement Only, due out May 4th, 2018 as a self-release from the band via Seed. For Amusement Only marks the band’s first official studio album since their self-titled debut nearly six years ago.While the band hasn’t released a traditional album since 2012, that doesn’t mean Spafford fans haven’t been treated to plenty of original music. Since their debut studio record, Spafford has released 5 official live records—in addition to their hour-long impromptu improv odyssey, Abaculus: An Improvisational Experience—but fans have long speculated about when the next studio album would be ready. Now, the wait for a new Spafford LP is finally over. For Amusement Only will include studio renditions of fan favorites “Leave the Light On”, “Ain’t That Wrong”, and “Mind’s Unchained”, as well as new songs like “Fuel” and “When It Falls”. Please find a full tracklisting below.Although Spafford first toured outside of the Southwest during the tail end of 2016, the band quickly transformed into a nationally touring powerhouse over the course of 2017 and shows no signs of slowing down. The album announcement comes on the heels of Spafford’s 2018 “For Amusement Only” tour, which saw the band play sold-out clubs across the country through the early part of this year, earning new nationwide fans in droves.In addition to the album release, later this year, Spafford will make debut appearances at Red Rocks Amphitheater (for Bisco Inferno), Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and Firefly Music Festival.You can pre-order the album now via iTunes and Amazon. Click below for the For Amusement Only tracklist and a full list of Spafford’s upcoming tour dates. Spafford For Amusement Only Tracklist:1. Leave the Light On2. Ain’t That Wrong3. It’s a Bunch4. Fuel5. Mind’s Unchained6. Simon & Lilly7. All In8. Hollywood9. The Postman10. When It Falls11. Slip and Squander12. Todd’s TotsView Full TracklistSpafford Upcoming Tour Dates:3/23 – 3/24 – New Orleans, LA – Uno Lakefront Arena4/20 – Atlanta, GA – Sweetwater 420 Fest4/20 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse, Sweetwater 420 Official After Party4/4 & 4/5 – New Orleans, LA – Republic NOLA5/24 – 5/27 – Chillicothe, IL – Summer Camp Music Festival5/27 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater6/1 – 6/2 – Live Oak, FL – Purple Hatter’s Ball6/7 – 6/10 – Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival6/14 – 6/17 – Dover, DE – Firefly Music Festival6/28 – 6/30 – Waitsfield, VT – Frendly Gathering7/5 – 7/8 – Quincy, CA – High Sierra Music Festival7/7 – 7/8 – Marshfield, MA – Levitate Music & Arts Festival7/26 – 7/29 – British Columbia, CAN – Element Music Festival8/10 – 8/13 – Scranton, PA – Peach Music Festival8/23 – 8/26 – Arrington, VA – Lockn’View All Tour Dates
Natalie Weber | The Observer Stanford Hall, pictured, was founded in 1957. The dorm is known for its annual pirate-themed dance and the Men of Virtue Dinner, where residents share a meal with guest speakers.McDevitt said while the dorm residents do not know a lot about its history, they are taking steps to learn about this aspect of the community. In light of the fact that the dorm celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, McDevitt said the dorm has a new historian to find out more about its history.“We now have a hall employee who is a historian whose job it is to both document current things and research past things,” he said.McDevitt also said hall president and junior Jack Corcoran is working on developing an alumni network.“We’ll send a blast out through development to all Stanford alumni ever asking them if they want to join an alumni list, which will be separate, but we’re going to ask them, even if they’re not interested in joining the list, if anyone has any old photos or stories to share them,” McDevitt said.Besides taking steps to learn more about its history, senior resident assistant (RA) Chris Westdyk said the Stanford culture is also changing.“It’s changed a lot since I’ve been here,” he said. “I think when I came as a freshman, not a lot of seniors stayed on my freshman year. We only had two or three that weren’t RAs around. The culture was very macho and there was a lot more hazing that went on than does now. A lot more seniors stay now.”Westdyk also said he likes how Stanford welcomes everyone.“There’s no archetypical Stanford Griffin,” he said. “Anyone can be a full member of the community without conforming to any standards, which I like for sure. Some dorms have a stereotypical member, but we don’t have that at all.”Since there were a lot of senior residents last year, Westdyk said there are a lot of freshmen this year, which means the culture can change.“There’s a big turnover happening for sure,” he said. “ … We’re in an interesting place right now making decisions about who we’re going to be.”Corcoran echoed the sentiment that Stanford is a welcoming dorm, saying people usually feel at home when they first walk in.“The first thing you do when you walk in these doors is J-Mac is in here and you say, ‘Hey, J-Mac,’ and you hear ‘Yo!’ from the back, whether he’s way in the back or sitting right here at his desk,” he said. “You always feel welcome when you walk in.”Corcoran also said people tend to leave their doors open when they are hanging out or playing music.“Whether it’s a bunch of juniors in a room, the freshmen are also going to be very welcome in there,” he said.During the year, Stanford hosts a variety of events, such as the dorm’s pirate-themed SYR. To raise money for the Center for the Homeless, the dorm also hosts the Irish Iron Classic, a heavy-lifting competition which will be hosted in Duncan and features free food.Another annual event, the Men of Virtue Dinner, is an occasion for residents to go somewhere on campus for a nice dinner and to hear impactful speakers. McDevitt said this year’s speakers will include faculty members Maria and Mark McKenna.The dorm also hosts section sports from year-to-year, including the section Olympics, although McDevitt said the dorm is also looking to be more inclusive of residents to whom athletics are not as important.“We compete in sports and stuff, but there’s no animosity,” McDevitt said. “It’s all friendly competition.”Ryan Govi, a junior resident in Stanford, said one of his favorite things about the dorm is the strong section culture. While he said residents do not always stay in the same section from year-to-year, the sections host dinners and snacks once a week.“I’ve spent six hours at section snack over the last three weeks,” he said.Govi said the sections do not take the place of the dorm, though, with no section culture being overly distinct from another.McDevitt said Stanford residents treat their sections like the rest of the dorm.“There’s no weird grudges,” he said. “It’s more like a section family.”Tags: Center for the Homeless, dorm features, men of virtue, Stanford Hall Editor’s note: This article is one in a series profiling the dorms. Previous articles have covered dorms built before Stanford Hall.While Stanford Hall’s physical building is connected to its rival and brother dorm, Keenan Hall, rector Justin McDevitt, more commonly known as “J-Mac” around the hall, and residents say the community at Stanford creates a unique culture.Dedicated in October 1957, Stanford is one month older than Keenan, and it is one of the first dorms to be named after a donor instead of a historical figure, McDevitt said.
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) GERRY – Heritage Ministries announced this week they will be temporarily halting skilled nursing admissions in response to New York State’s new testing mandate.Jeremy Rutter, Heritage Chief Clinical Officer, announced Friday that Heritage skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities in Chautauqua County will temporarily cease all admissions effective Tuesday, May 19.This temporary admission halt will affect The Village in Gerry, The Park in Jamestown, and The Green in Greenhurst.“Starting Tuesday, we will not be accepting admissions into our skilled nursing communities until we have sufficient test results indicating that our staffing will not be negatively impacted by our compliance with the executive order,” he explained. Heritage Ministries was founded as the Orphanage and Homes of the Free Methodist Church in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, to six locations in New York with additional affiliations across the United States.
Massachusetts may become third state to begin planning for transition away from gas heating FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey on Thursday called for the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to investigate the future of the state’s natural gas industry “to protect ratepayers and ensure a safe, reliable, and fair transition away from reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels.”Massachusetts has set a legally binding statewide limit of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which Healey said would require “sizeable reductions in its use of fossil fuels to achieve.”Healey’s call for an investigation of the gas sector follows similar actions in New York and California, which are also looking to transition away from fossil fuels. Advocates say the moves are overdue but indicate an important shift.In January, the California Public Utilities Commission opened a rulemaking proceeding to consider challenges relating to the state’s gas infrastructure safety and reliability while it pursues decarbonization. And in March, the New York Public Service Commission opened an investigation to consider issues related to gas utilities’ planning procedures.Clean energy advocates say the investigation will consider how Massachusetts can transition from gas-fueled heat and power in a way that does not leave lower-income residents responsible for stranded costs. “Getting off of gas without planning is going to be messy and inequitable,” Sierra Club’s Massachusetts director Deb Pasternak told Utility Dive.The next step, said Pasternak, is for the DPU to determine if it will open a new docket for the investigation.[Robert Walton]More: Massachusetts attorney general urges state examine shift from natural gas heating
Writing in advance of tomorrow’s subcommittee hearing, NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler yesterday urged a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee to strengthen draft legislation by incorporating a strong national data security standard for retailers and to mandate related rulemaking.Writing the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, Thaler also said the legislation must add a liability provision for merchant data breaches and clarify that all entities covered by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act are exempt from new requirements.Wednesday’s hearing will focus on a discussion draft of data security legislation that primarily focuses on breach notification. Committee members Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., are the sponsors of the draft, titled the “Data Security and Breach Notification Act.”Thaler, writing to full committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said last week’s report showing retailers are failing to meet widely accepted payment card industry, or PCI, data security standards illustrates the need for Congress to act. continue reading » 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
62SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Thanks to an industry-wide push by manufacturers, associations and processors, a good portion of ATM operators are aware of the upcoming MasterCard liability shift on October 1, 2016, even if some are still not certain of all details (e.g. chargebacks, path to EMV, etc.). Visa implements their own liability shift on October 1st of the following year.The liability changeover could be very worrying for many, especially as skimming fraud numbers have spiked to all-time highs – up 546 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to a recently released report from FICO. Merchants are certainly beginning to feel the pinch. Their MasterCard liability shift hit in 2015, spawning a series of litigation, lawsuits and questions about EMV’s readiness for mainstream use in the U.S. Operators Speeding Up EMV ImplementationThere may be some good news for the ATM industry. The 2016 ATM Channel EMV Readiness Survey from the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) reports 51 percent of the 120 respondents have already upgraded more than half of their fleet. While only 19 percent of those machines were reported as actively capable of accepting EMV chip transactions, the percentage is projected to reach 58 percent by the end of 2016. continue reading »
May 24, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – For the first time, evidence suggests that the H5N1 avian influenza virus may have passed from one person to another and on to a third, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) official.Referring to the extended-family case cluster in Indonesia, the WHO’s Maria Cheng told the Canadian Press (CP) yesterday, “This is the first time we have seen cases that have gone beyond one generation of human-to-human spread.”The WHO said in an online statement yesterday that analysis of viruses from patients in the cluster had shown no evidence of changes that could lead to efficient human-to-human transmission. But another WHO official expressed serious concern about the cluster.Peter Cordingley, spokesman for the WHO’s Western Pacific region, quoted in a Reuters report today, said, “This is the most significant development so far in terms of public health. We have never had a cluster as large as this. We have not had in the past what we have here, which is no explanation as to how these people became infected [in the first place]. We can’t find sick animals in this community, and that worries us.”CDC director not alarmedIn a news briefing this afternoon, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) generally echoed the WHO’s message of yesterday that the cluster appears to involve person-to-person transmission but that there is no sign of transmission beyond the cluster and no evidence of changes in the virus.”There’s a lot more science to be done, but the early indication is we’re not seeing anything that would be sending up an alarm,” Dr. Julie Gerberding said from Geneva, where she is attending the WHO’s annual meeting. She added, “We understand we can’t be complacent about this.”The cluster includes seven confirmed cases in an extended family, six of which were fatal. All of these followed a similar illness in a 37-year-old woman who died and was buried without being tested for avian flu. The WHO regards her illness as the index case.Although other officials have said investigators have not been able to find a possible animal source for the index patient’s infection, Gerberding said today, “Clearly the source of infection likely was an infected poultry exposure.”Concurring with the view that at least two generations of transmission occurred, she added, “The person who initially got the infection from poultry may have been the source of transmission to other family members, and there may have been subsequent transmission to other family members.” She said the family members had close contact with one another, and there have been no infections in healthcare workers or others outside the family.Gerberding said that a two-generation, or “person-to-person-to-person,” transmission chain is significant in that it raises the “worrisome possibility” of a change in the virus, but added that investigators have not found evidence of a change.She also said the cluster is not the first example of probable person-to-person transmission of the virus. “This probably the third example where we’ve seen pretty good evidence of human-to-human transmission,” she told reporters.Gerberding described the people in the cluster as “all related by blood,” implying the possibility of genetic susceptibility to the virus. She said it is possible there are some people “who are more susceptible to transmission because of the unique makeup of their respiratory tract. . . . We have no evidence of this, but we have to examine that hypothesis.”The CDC head said the genetic sequencing of viruses from the cluster so far has yielded four main findings:The isolates are all “virtually identical,” implying a single source.They are susceptible to the antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir).”There is no evidence of motif changes in the particular areas of the genes that are responsible for how the virus binds to the respiratory tract of people.”The isolates are very similar to viruses previously collected from poultry in the region.Gerberding said the cluster occurred in “a Christian community in a pretty remote area on an outlying island.” Both traditional and western medical techniques are used in the village. Contrary to some recent reports, she said the local residents have shown “enormous cooperation” with the WHO investigators, at least in the past few days.Raising the pandemic alert level?The Indonesian cluster has triggered talk about the possibility of the WHO’s changing its pandemic alert status from phase 3 to phase 4 on its 6-phase scale, with phase 6 being a full-blown pandemic. A WHO task force would have to meet and make this decision.”Right now,” said the WHO’s Cheng in a Reuters story today, “it does not look like the task force will need to meet immediately, but this is subject to change, depending on what comes out of Indonesia.”But the WHO’s pandemic alert system lacks specific criteria for elevating the alert level, according to Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, which publishes the CIDRAP Web site.”I’m personally confused about the difference in what a phase 3 and phase 4 alert level is,” he said today. “The WHO has not clearly described the difference.”That’s important. I’m personally aware of a number of companies that have pegged certain levels of their pandemic flu plan based on a change from phase 3 to phase 4. And I’m not sure a change in the alert level would warrant a change in pandemic planning.”The WHO Global Influenza Preparedness Plan (see link below) defines phase 3 as “human infection(s) with a new subtype, but no human-to-human spread, or at most rare instances of spread to a close contact.”Phase 4 is characterized by “small cluster(s) with limited human-to-human transmission, but spread is highly localized, suggesting that the virus is not well adapted to humans.”The WHO plan further states, “The distinction between phase 3, phase 4, and phase 5is based on an assessment of the risk of a pandemic. . . . Factors may include rate of transmission, geographical location and spread, severity of illness, presence of genes from human strains (if derived from an animal strain), and/or other scientific parameters.”News editor Robert Roos contributed to this article.See also:WHO’s May 23 Indonesia updatehttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_05_23/en/index.htmlWHO Global Influenza Preparedness Planhttp://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/influenza/WHO_CDS_CSR_GIP_2005_5.pdf