The Niche

Europe says no to Thomson patent

Geron is unhappy that the European Patent Office has rejected claims of patents it has licensed from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The argument as I understand it is that the European Patent Office followed rules forbidding patents on inventions that involve the destruction of embryos. Geron argued that nowadays researchers don’t have to destroy embryos because they can get embryonic stem cell lines from a cell bank, but the EPO didn’t buy that. (But you can read the arguments for yourself at the EPO.) For Geron’s side, see the press release . WARF’s press release emphasized that the decision was based on laws peculiar to Europe and had no bearing in the US.

Despite opposition from many scientists and activists, WARF’s claims over embryonic stem cells were upheld earlier this year. The first two in March, (See Nature news story) and the third in June.(See WARF press release.

(See also A perfect storm in patents )


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