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Europe rejects stem cell patent

The European Patent Office (EPO) issued its final ruling last week rejecting a much-contested embryonic stem cell patent -- a decision that will likely be cheered by researchers and jeered by biotechs. The patent covered technology developed by linkurl:James Thomson,;http://ink.primate.wisc.edu/~thomson/ a University of Wisconsin researcher, to culture primate embryonic stem cells derived from pre-implantation embryos. In last week's ruling, the EPO upheld a previous decision, made last summer,

Andrea Gawrylewski
The European Patent Office (EPO) issued its final ruling last week rejecting a much-contested embryonic stem cell patent -- a decision that will likely be cheered by researchers and jeered by biotechs. The patent covered technology developed by linkurl:James Thomson,;http://ink.primate.wisc.edu/~thomson/ a University of Wisconsin researcher, to culture primate embryonic stem cells derived from pre-implantation embryos. In last week's ruling, the EPO upheld a previous decision, made last summer, that rejected the patent. Earlier this year the US Patent Office upheld this patent, in addition to two others dealing with derivation and replication of embryonic stem cells in culture. The three patents, filed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in 1995, were reexamined, beginning in October, 2006, when challenges were brought by the Public Patent Foundation in New York and the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) in Los Angeles. The two organizations argued that the patents impede stem...

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