European Stem Cell Patent Ban Good?

Following last week’s ruling by the European Court of Justice that research procedures involving human embryonic stem cells cannot be patented, European researchers, lawyers, and investors are striving to put a positive spin on the decision. 

Cristina Luiggi
Oct 24, 2011

Embryo manipulation equipmentWELLCOME IMAGES, ALAN HANDYSIDE

Following last week’s ruling by the European Court of Justice that research procedures involving human embryonic stem cells cannot be patented, European researchers, lawyers, and investors are striving to put a positive spin on the decision. "If anything the ruling is an opportunity," biochemical engineer Chris Mason of University College London told Nature. "It's not the end of stem cells in Europe."

Although the cells themselves are out of bounds, companies will still be able to patent affiliated technologies, such as the equipment, growth media, and chemicals, used to develop treatments from embryonic stem cells. The ruling may even help attract more scientists to Europe, according to Nature, since they won’t have to worry about infringing on existing patents.

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