After three contentious stem cell patents were upheld in the US earlier this year, the debate over one of the patents continues this week in Europe. The Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office heard a dispute on Tuesday (June 24) on awarding a patent to the US stem cell technology. The technology in question is covered by one of the three patents held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). It includes methods to culture and maintain primate embryonic stem cells derived from pre-implantation embryos. This and the other two patents, covering human embryonic stem cells and replicating stem cells in culture, were upheld by the US Patent Office linkurl:this year.; James Thomson, University of Wisconsin researcher, and chief scientist behind the technology, is challenging the EPO's 2004 decision not to award a patent to this technology. "One of the main reasons for the refusal was that the...

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