European Patent Office Upholds Limitation on Stem Cell Patentability

By Min Wu

The European Patent Office (EPO) published a decision rejecting an attempt to patent human foreskin cells suitable for culturing stem cells, according to IP-Watch. The EPO said in its decision that inventions using human embryonic stem cell lines derived from the destruction of the human embryos are not patentable under the European Patent Convention.

In 2011, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that no patents may be issued on stem cell research if human embryos have been destroyed in the process. Although the ruling is not binding on the EPO, the EPO observed that its decision is consistent with the ECJ ruling.