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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Patents Related to Blastocystic Stem Cell Research

Shane G. Smith, Ph.D. is the Science Director of the Children’s Neurobiological Solutions Foundation (CNS). In 2004, Shane served as Science Director for California’s successful "Yes on Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research & Cures Initiative campaign."

I met Shane Smith viritually through my online acquaintance with Don C. Reed, also an advocate of Proposition 71. Both Don and Shane have been very helpful in checking my facts and editing my manuscript for Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. These fellow advocates also keep me updated on the latest events within the political world of stem cell research. Today, Shane sent me an email about patents related to human embryonic stem cells.

WARF (The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation) is a branch of the University of Wisconsin (UW) that controls and owns the school's patents. Jamie Thomson, a researcher at the University, was the first to isolate human embryonic (blastocyst) stem cells left over from in-vitro procedures in 1997. The university patented Thomson's discovery and has been collecting fees from researchers ever since; not just for research done at UW but all over the U.S.

These patents ensure commercial control of any technology or treatment derived from blastocystic stem cell research by guaranteeing UW is paid royalties for any products that come to the market as a result of the research.

While I strongly believe in capitalism or free enterprise, I personally don't think it is fair that stem cell researchers all over the U.S. should have to pay fees or royalties to WARF unless the research was conducted using funds or resources donated by the university. This "cornering the market" tactic is preventing the forward progress of stem cell research as much as the lack of federal funds or the opposition from Right-wing Bush supporters.

You may want to read an article "Feds to Toss 3 Stem Cell Patents" by PAUL ELIAS
(AP Biotechnology Writer) dated April 2, 2007 or an article by patent attorney Lawrence B. Ebert for more details.

3 comments:

Devon Ellington said...

Far too many decisions concerning our present and future health are made only according to who can profit financially from it, not the health of the patients.

In fact, when I first read the article, instead of "patent" I read "patient" and it did not surprise me at all.

Lawrence B. Ebert said...

Researchers are insulated from paying royalties through 35 USC 271(e)(1), as discussed in Merck v. Integra. The issue has been what happens when the "researchers" try to commercialize their work.

Lawrence B. Ebert
author of article on the Hwang stem cell fraud, 88 JPTOS 239.
IPBiz.blogspot.com

Lawrence B. Ebert said...

Refer to 35 USC 271(e)(1) on the statutory exemption to patent infringement.

Lawrence B. Ebert
IPBiz.blogspot.com