U. Wisconsin signs national stem cell patent rules

Published on

The Daily Cardinal (University Wire)

MADISON, WI — A report released Wednesday by the Association of American Medical Colleges was signed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation — among other large research universities — to establish guidelines for institutions’ technology licenses.

According to the Stanford News, the idea for the report came from a meeting with representatives from top research universities held in July 2006. Those present at the meeting created the nine points that comprise the paper.

As the nation’s leading stem cell technology producer, the University of Wisconsin has come under fire recently for its stem cell patents’ high fees and tight restrictions.

The paper includes points advising how to ensure exclusive licenses encourage technology development, allowing universities to practice licensed inventions and giving them access to research tools.

There have been problems recently with technology transfers in terms of licensing which limit the work scientists at universities are able to accomplish, according to accusations lobbed at the University by the California-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which claimed UW-Madison was restricting research at other universities with its formerly tight patent regulations.

However, the paper states that it will allow technology transfers to help avoid such problems, and in January, WARF loosened its requirements of academic and non-profit research institutions, allowing them to perform stem cell technologies without purchasing a license.

WARF signed the papers along with nine other universities. WARF owns 13 of the nationally funded stem cell lines, and holds the patents for the methods used to reproduce the cells.

The Stanford News contributed to this report.

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