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Citations and Patents

Eugene Garfield's commentary, "Demand Citation Vigilance,"1 particularly the comment "the bibliographic neglect displayed by inventors and patent examiners," struck an all-too-familiar chord. In brief, my group's (which included my mentor, the late Distinguished Professor Ernest Witebsky of autoimmune thyroiditis note) observations of the initial discovery of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in 19702 were overlooked and misrepresented, including the omission of a key reference, by the patent exam

Richard Ablin
Eugene Garfield's commentary, "Demand Citation Vigilance,"1 particularly the comment "the bibliographic neglect displayed by inventors and patent examiners," struck an all-too-familiar chord.

In brief, my group's (which included my mentor, the late Distinguished Professor Ernest Witebsky of autoimmune thyroiditis note) observations of the initial discovery of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in 19702 were overlooked and misrepresented, including the omission of a key reference, by the patent examiners in a patent application filed and granted some nine years later. This resulted in other investigators benefiting from the neglect of the patent examiners by taking advantage of advances in technology and merely improving on our initial work, hence becoming the beneficiaries of our discovery of PSA.

With time and review of our initial work, many (but not all) investigators have come to recognize that in instances where credit is attributed for the identification of PSA, it should be given...

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