Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Law review article on cloning relies on BBC reports

Footnote 34 of a recently appearing law review article (from the University of Chicago) relies upon reports of the BBC as sources for scientific discoveries:

In August 2004, scientists at the University of Newcastle were
given permission by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to
attempt therapeutic cloning. BBC News, Dolly Scientists' Human Clone Bid, (Sept
28, 2004), available at
(last visited Apr 19, 2006). In 2005, they reported that they successfully
cloned the country's first human embryo. BBC News, UK Scientists Clone Human
Embryo, (May 20, 2005), available at 1/hi/health/4563607.stm> (last visited Apr 19, 2006). Ian Wilmut has also received permission to clone embryos in the hope of finding new treatments for motor neuron disease. BBC News, Should Embryo Cloning be Licensed?, (Feb 10, 2005), available at
(last visited Apr
19, 2006).

Dealing with this at FACE VALUE, one notes that a LATER BBC report did NOT mention the Newcastle work. From IPBiz:

The section "stem cell milestones" on the BBC report was later corrected to delete the references to Hwang's fraudulent results. Curiously, the BBC report did NOT mention the Newcastle work within the milestones, which British work did produce a human blastocyst through SCNT.

Separately, the cite to the Newcastle work was in the scientific literature and in the legal literature (eg, 88 JPTOS 239) by April 2006.

Separately, the fact that the Newcastle group NEVER followed up on this SEMINAL work is very, very suspicious.

[The law review article in question is Reproductive Cloning: Another Look, 2006 U Chi Legal F 87.]

A different law review article (titled STATES AS INNOVATION SYSTEM LABORATORIES: CALIFORNIA, PATENTS, AND STEM CELL TECHNOLOGY but which does not refer to Hwang Woo Suk) includes within footnote 359 the text:

An example of an exclusively licensed government-funded inventions include the stem cell patents owned by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. See Rai & Eisenberg, supra note 11, at 301-02 ("A prominent example of exclusive licensing on a broadly
enabling research tool is the previously noted patent on primate embryonic stem
cell lines held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). Under an
agreement that provided one million dollars of research support for
subsequent work by the inventor, WARF granted a broad exclusive license for
commercial use of six important cell types that could be derived from these cell lines to a single private firm, Geron.").

IPBiz observes that footnote 24 includes: Arti K. Rai & Rebecca S. Eisenberg, The Public Domain: Bayh-Dole Reform and The Progress of Biomedicine, 66 Law & Contemp.
Probs. 289 (2003)

A different law review (Buying and Selling Human Tissues for Stem Cell Research, 49 Ariz. L. Rev. 45) includes the text:

In a capitalist society with an unequal distribution of
resources, it is inevitable that the inducement of compensation will
affect some people more than others, and that people of lesser means will be more
likely to donate at any given payment level than people of greater means. The
well-to-do rarely accept dangerous, dirty, or unpleasant jobs, whereas the
near-destitute often do. Society's usual response to this fact of life is not to
prohibit the poor from accepting such employment and suggest that the work should
instead be done by altruists, but to make conditions as safe as reasonably
possible and allow the market to provide a risk premium for such labor. n44 It is
not clear why potential donors of human tissues, when such donors are needed for
important medical research, should be treated differently from potential coal
miners, when such laborers are needed for energy production. Coal mining is
unpleasant, often dangerous, and correlated with a reduction in lifespan. This rarely
leads to suggestions that altruists should mine coal free of charge.

IPBiz asks if "important medical research" is a required predicate for this argument. Suppose payment was made for eggs for objectives NOT related to important medical research? Should we allow indentured servants?


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