Monday, December 01, 2008

WARF responds to EPO/EBA decision on stem cell patent application

WARF said of the EPO decision:

“The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is disappointed in the decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) rejecting the claims of WARF's European Patent Application No. 96903521.1. WARF currently is considering various options in response to this decision.

“WARF emphasizes that this ruling by the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal was based on European Union patent rules that are peculiar to Europe. There is no counterpart in United States patent law and therefore the EPO decision does not in any way affect WARF's patent rights in the United States.

"We have more than 40 issued patents directed to stem cells in 12 countries with more than 200 cases pending all over the world," states WARF General Counsel Michael Falk. "This decision represents a ruling in just one of these cases and in just one jurisdiction on grounds that do not apply in other jurisdictions."

According to WARF, the opinion of the Enlarged Board of Appeal focused on the issue of the patentability of cells made using an embryo. “The Board made no determination of the patentability of claims based on any of the traditional criteria used to assess patentability - usefulness, novelty, and non-obviousness. In fact, the opinion makes clear that its decision does not address the question of patentability in general of inventions relating to human stem cell cultures.”

See also:


The Scotsman noted:

Dr Paul Chapman, a partner in the Edinburgh office of patent firm Marks & Clerk, told The Scotsman that the EPO's ruling may open the market up to other small companies, which were previously worried about the cost of using Warf's method.

Stressing that the EPO's decision was expressly limited to the Warf case, Chapman said the latest ruling did not offer the clarity sought by stem cell companies over what could and could not be patented.

Chapman, a specialist in life science patents, said: "A lot of small companies and researchers in Scotland are looking at stem cells and there's a lot of money going into this area.


Blogger Duncan Williams said...

The European WARF patents are basically a marketing ploy. Countries that are a member to the GATT-TRIPS prohibit patents relating to "diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals." See Article 27. So obtaining or enforcing medical procedure patents in any GATT country is simply not worth the money it takes to obtain the patent.

7:14 AM  

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