continue their challenge of three overreaching patents on human stem
cells held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) despite a
non-final decision by Patent Office allowing three amended claims in
one of the disputed patents.
The Foundation For Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) and the
Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) said they would appeal any later
final decision by the examiner supporting the claims to the Patent and
Trademark Office’s Board of Appeals, which frequently overturns the
decision made by examiners. The groups also have the right to appeal
any decision of that board to the U.S. Circuit Court for the Federal
Circuit, if necessary.
The "non-final office decision" in the inter partes
re-examination of the ‘913 patent was posted late Wednesday on the
"We won the first round when the PTO rejected all claims of the
‘780, ‘806 and ‘913 patents," said John M. Simpson, FTCR Stem Cell
Project Director. "Now WARF has won the second round with respect to
just one of the patents, but the battle is hardly over. We’re in this
for the long haul."
"The examiner based his decision on his own belief that it
would not have been obvious to isolate human stem cells using widely
known methods to isolate mouse stem cells, which contradicts the sworn
testimony that we provided of four renowned stem cell embryologists who
were doing such work", said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT Executive Director.
"Thus, the examiner took his own opinion over the opinions of our four
leading stem cell scientist witnesses."
Joining the two consumer groups in the challenge from the
beginning was Dr. Jeanne Loring, now of the Scripps Institute. After
the initial rejection, Dr. Alan Trounson, then of Australia’s Monash
University and now president of the California Institute for
Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Douglas Melton of Harvard and Dr. Chad Cowan
of Harvard filed affidavits supporting the challenge.
The two groups noted that the patent challenge has already
improved the situation for stem cell researchers; shortly after the PTO
announced it would re-examine the three patents, WARF announced a
substantial easing of its licensing requirements.
"WARF executives were acting like arrogant bullies blinded by
dollar signs," said Simpson. "Our challenge has engendered a more
co-operative stance on their part."
Decisions are pending on the other two patents. No other country recognizes the three WARF patents.
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California’s
leading non-profit and non-partisan consumer watchdog group. For more
information visit us on the web at: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org.
The Public Patent Foundation is a not-for-profit legal services
organization that represents the public’s interests against the harms
caused by the patent system, particularly the harms caused by wrongly
issued patents and unsound patent policy. For more information, visit
us on the web at: www.pubpat.org.