Patent Granted for Fraudulent Science

The US Patent and Trademark Office has awarded patent protection to refuted discoveries on human stem cells.  

By | February 17, 2014

WIKIMEDIA, EKEMHwang Woo-Suk, whose debunked claims for having developed a stem cell line from cloned human embryos got him in serious trouble, has earned a US patent for the fraudulent research. Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University, told The New York Times he was “shocked” by the news. “I thought somebody was kidding, but I guess they were not.”

According to The Korea Times, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approved a patent for a stem cell line that was extracted from human embryos. RetractionWatch reported that this is the same stem cell line involved in two retracted Science papers, but that the patent did not make mention of that blemish in Hwang’s record. The patent is “definitely not an assertion by the U.S. government that everything he is claiming is accurate,” USPTO spokesman Patrick Ross told The New York Times.

Hwang's associate told The Korea Times that the patent will hopefully provide momentum for the infamous scientist’s work. “The USPTO acknowledged the technological edge of Hwang’s team,” said Hyun Sang-hwan at Chungbuk National University. “Against this backdrop, I sincerely hope the government will allow Hwang to restart work on cloned human embryos. It’s a pity that a scientist with very advanced technology cannot work on them.”

Hwang has continued his cloning work in animals at Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in South Korea. A recent profile of Hwang in Nature reported that the disgraced researcher wants to pick up on human therapeutic cloning.

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Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 237

February 19, 2014

Let's get a few things straightened out about patents.  You don't "earn" a patent.  You pay to have countries protect your intellectual property.  Now, because that intellectual property is WORTHLESS, someone spent a lot of money for no good reason.  The only thing the USPTO "ackowledged" was the patent submission's novelty...  nothing more, nothing less...novel crap as it turns out.  

No one should be "shocked" about the turn of events.  Lots of never-to-be-produced stuff is patented.

Avatar of: Cibola


Posts: 1

February 20, 2014

Missing from the coverage are two important facts:

#1.  The claims of the issued patent US 8,647,872 depend from the deposited cell line.  If the work on the deposited cell line is inaccurate (which is likely so), the claims do no damage to anyone.  Who is going to infringe the claims?

#2.  Now that the patent has issued, the deposited cell line is available for investigation.

As to being "shocked," what about the initial response by the journal Science, who described the problem initially as an issue with figures?  False work peer-reviewed (by more significant experts than patent examiners) and then published by scientific journals.  See paper by Lawrence B. Ebert in JPTOS which discussed some aspects of Science's publishing of the fraudulent work by Hwang Woo Suk (Analyzing Innovation the Right Way, 88 JPTOS 239).

As to Mr. Stein's comment, one is entitled to a patent unless there is showing that the claims are not novel, not useful, obvious, or not described or enabled.

I do agree with Mr. Stein's comment that no one should be shocked by the USPTO.  Perhaps shocked that someone is spending money on this patent knowing the surrounding facts (or that California taxpayers are paying for CIRM?)






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