Human stem cell patents?
The IPKat was interested to read on the Patent Office website of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s EPO application for a patent which relates to human embryonic stem cells. The application was refused by the EPO examining division under Art.53(a) EPC (moral grounds). An appeal to the Technical Board of Appeal followed, which referred 4 questions to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. Because of the importance of the issue, the Enlarged Board invited third-party submissions.
The UK filed its response on 30 October. According to the Patent Office, the contents (in potted form) are as follows:
[The response] argues that the EPO should not refuse to grant patents on moral grounds when there is no clear consensus among its contracting states on the morality of stem cell research and patenting. This would deny patent protection in those states where such technology is morally acceptable and allowable.The IPKat isn’t convinced. On such an important issue, where there is so little consensus, a cautious approach to patent protection is to be preferred.
The Prague Monitor reports that Budejovicky Budvar NP has succeeded in registering BUDWEISER BUDVAR as a trade mark in Portugal, despite objections from Anheuser-Busch. Details about the ruling don’t seem to be available yet, but the IPKat wonders what affect, if any, this will have on Anheuser-Busch’s case against Portugal before the European Court of Human Rights.