Monday, May 19, 2008

EPO to determine in June the fate of WARF stem cell patent application

In the next month, the European Patent Office [EPO] will rule on whether inventions involving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) can be patented.

Peter Ranscombe of the Scotsman reported:

The enlarged board of appeal (EBA) of the EPO is due to meet in Munich on June 24 and June 25 to consider a patent application filed by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in 1995.

The application was initially rejected, but was sent to the EPO's technical board of appeal, which in turn referred the matter to the higher EBA.

The UK patent office allows patents to be filed for inventions concerning pluripotent HESCs – which have the potential to become most but not all cells – but not totipotent HESCs, which could turn into any cell. It also does not accept claims to methods of isolating HESCs that involve the destruction of a human embryo.

U.S. counterparts to this application have issued in the U.S., and recently survived re-examination.

See IPBiz post:

The journal Nature refers to WARF win on stem cells as landmark ruling


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