Friday, March 31, 2006

Hwang filed a PCT application on 3 Feb. 06, after the scandal had broken

Information from suggests that Woo Suk Hwang filed a PCT application on February 3, 2006, which is AFTER his two papers in Science were retracted but before February 16, 2006, when the Schatten cip was published by the USPTO. SNU states that it is conforming to Woo Suk Hwang's request to leave the application unchanged [it's not totally clear if this applies to both PCT applications; the application filed in February 2006 (when everyone knew about the fraud) presumably should have been written to include only non-fraudulent work. The application of Dec. 30, 2004 might include some fraudulent work.]


Seoul National University said March 31, 2006 it accepted a request from Hwang Woo-suk to leave unchanged an application for a stem-cell technology patent from the disgraced cloning scientist. The university has the authority to manage the research findings of faculty, but any changes in content have to be made by the academics themselves.

The head of SNU's Industry Foundation, Chung Jin-ho, said it would have been within its rights to adjust the scope of the patent application since the fraudulent research papers were withdrawn. However, it decided to accept Hwang's request as the inventor to leave it as is.

The foundation applied for two patents on technical aspects of making stem cells under the international Patent Cooperation Treaty in December 2004 and February 2006, based on two fraudulent papers on the creation of stem cells from cloned embryos Hwang published in the U.S. journal Science. But patents can only be granted if application is made to member countries by June 30, 2006 [18 months from Dec. 30, 2004] for the first and August 3, 2007 [18 months from Feb. 3, 2006] for the second. "Hwang intends to reduce or change the scope of his patents if individual countries ask him to," Chung said. Hwang, who was sacked by SNU this month, applied for patents in 16 countries including the U.S.

The Industry Foundation chief said Hwang's one-time champion Prof. Gerald Schatten of Pittsburgh University included techniques developed by Hwang in his own patent applications, a move that came to light in February. [IPBiz: specifically, on February 16, 2006] SNU plans to ask the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to add Hwang as a co-inventor on Schatten's application or exclude the techniques from it. [IPBiz: this request probably will not go far. Schatten cited Hwang's 2004 paper for the use of one element in a multi-element method claim.]


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