January 25, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

patents

5 min read

What is the “proper” amount of freedom of choice for patients in medicine? What if the treatments in question are experimental and come with their own baggage of associated risks, personal costs, and potential costs to society? More broadly, do patients have a fundamental right to medical choice? These questions seem particularly appropriate today on a number of fronts including Right To Try laws and vaccines as well as emerging stem cell and other biomedical technologies. The recent measles outbreaks including the one sparked at …Read More

1 min read

With more than 250 votes cast, Jennifer Doudna is leading by a decisive margin in a poll asking who deserves the patent for use of CRISPR-Cas9 as a tool. Feng Zhang got only just over half the votes of Doudna. Another take home message from this poll is that a sizable minority–almost one in five– said neither should have a patent on this technology. Geographically the results were fairly consistent across countries, but notably in the UK the top response was, “Neither”. This poll is …Read More

1 min read

The challenge to the WARF/Jamie Thomson patents/IP on human embryonic stem cells (hESC) is at an end. The US Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Earlier, the USPTO had turned down the challenge leading to a winding road in the courts. What do you all think of this stem cell IP challenge and the outcome? The hESC IP includes 3 patents: 5,843,780, 6,200,806, and 7,029,913. For two great stories with helpful background on this development see here and here by David Jensen and Bradley Fikes, respectively. Scripps …Read More

2 min read

The still mysterious BioGatekeeper had challenged Yamanaka’s IPS cell patent claiming that it was obvious. The potential implications were huge given the commercial interest in translating IPS cell technology. For background see here, here, and here. There’s pretty much zero information on BioGatekeeper otherwise. Despite the potential seriousness of this patent challenge, just a few days ago the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied the challenge so for all intents and purposes BioGatekeeper’s effort is dead. A big hat tip to reader Shinsakan. You …Read More

2 min read

A mysterious organization called BioGatekeeper, Inc. has filed a legal challenge to the Yamanaka Patent seeking to cancel it (for more on this see here and here). The technology to change just about any human cell into a super powerful kind of stem cell called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells or iPSC) has great potential not only to help millions of patients, but also to make companies millions or even billions of dollars. Many scientists have been on the trail of cellular reprogramming, …Read More

3 min read

A new patent dispute has exploded in the stem cell field related to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. What’s going on? In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka reported cellular reprogramming to create mouse induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in Cell and the next year multiple groups along with Yamanaka’s reported creating human iPS cells. It’s no exaggeration to say this was a blockbuster development for the cell and developmental biology fields and Yamanaka later went on to win the Nobel Prize for this discovery. Another element …Read More

4 min read

Should a company be able to have a gene patent and more generally and practically speaking can genes be patented? Patent and IP issues always raise a myriad of questions so what about a patent case on a company called Myriad? Complicated, right? If genes in their natural form cannot be patented, does that mean that potentially very valuable cell types including stem cells also cannot be patented? It’s a timely question to ask because the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled …Read More

2 min read

Over the past year the FDA and FBI have stepped up their actions related to sellers of dubious stem cell treatments. Most recently we have seen arrests of “Drs.” Morales and Stowe as well as others. Mr. Stowe, who is not a medical doctor, remains a fugitive of the FBI. Has the FBI now effectively fully taken care of business and taken action against all of those trying to make money off of non-FDA approved stem cell treatments? If only. There are many more …Read More

2 min read

There has been concern for months about the direction that the European Union was heading in regards to intellectual property (IP) rights and stem cell patent approaches. Now, a definitive decision banning embryonic stem cell (ESC)-based patents by the EU Court has dealt a severe blow to stem cell science in Europe. The European Court of Justice ruled today that methods involving not just human embryos but also existing human ESC lines, cannot be patented. Remarkably, this ruling impacts all 27 members of the …Read More