Tuesday, June 24, 2008

EPO/EBA to review WARF stem cell applications on 24-25 June

John Simpson of FTCR (now ConsumerWatchDog) had written of the U.S. WARF patents on stem cells:

The groups said the patents' dubious validity is underscored by the fact that no other country in the world honors them. As a result, U.S. researchers have sent research monies abroad where they can avoid paying royalties to WARF. California voters approved the nation's largest publicly funded stem cell research program in 2004 with Proposition 71, which allocated $3 billion in grants over the next 10 years. More information about FTCR and PUBPAT's challenges to the WARF stem cell patents (U.S. Patents Nos. 5,843,780, 6,200,806 and 7,029,913), including copies of the Patent Office's Orders rejecting the patents, can be found at http://www.pubpat.org/warfstemcell.htm.

On 24-25 June 2008, there are public oral proceedings before the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EBoA) over the WARF patent applications before the EPO.

Of the past, the EPO notes:

On 13 July 2004, an EPO Examining Division refused to grant a patent for the application on the grounds that it was found to be not consistent with the European Patent Convention (EPC), which regulates and harmonises patent practice across Europe. One of the main reasons for the refusal was that the disclosed method of obtaining stem cells used as the starting material a primate (including human) embryo which was destroyed in the process. Somehow, John Simpson neglected to mention this in his attacks on the WARF patents.

The FTCR/PubPat re-examination challenge to the U.S. WARF patents went down in flames. The references they cited were deemed non-enabled, and the declarations were found conclusionary.

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