WARF stem cell patents challenged in federal court

2013-07-03T05:30:00Z WARF stem cell patents challenged in federal courtDAN SIMMONS | Wisconsin State Journal | | 608-252-6136

Public interest groups that earlier unsuccessfully sought to remove embryonic stem cell patents held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation have asked a federal appeals court to reopen the case challenging one of the patents, which they say should be invalidated because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica, Calif., and the Public Patent Foundation of New York City argued in a brief filed Tuesday that WARF’s “‘913 patent” “has put a severe burden on taxpayer-funded research in the state of California” and is invalid.

In 2006, the groups challenged three patents on pioneering UW-Madison researcher James Thomson’s research. They said he followed the recipe of other scientists when he was the first to grow human embryonic stem cells in 1998. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reviewed and upheld the patents, with minor changes, that are held by WARF, the university’s tech-transfer organization.

In their appeal of the ruling in federal court, the groups cited a June decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Inc., in which the court ruled genes can’t be patented.

“Such broad claims to products of nature are not patent eligible ... and thus should be declared invalid,” they argued

in the brief.

Madison is well-known for stem cell achievements: Thomson was the first scientist, in 1998, to grow human embryonic stem cells in a lab. In 2007, Thomson and colleague Junying Yu of UW-Madison discovered human iPS cells, the stem cells made by reprogramming adult cells, at the same time as Shinya Yamanaka of Japan. The cells, made from skin or blood, provide an alternative source of stem cells without destroying embryos.

Both types of stem cells, believed capable of becoming each of the more than 200 cell types in the body, could someday offer cell therapies for patients with Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other conditions. For now, the cells are mostly being used to better understand diseases and to screen and test drugs.

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. Frank Rojas
    Report Abuse
    Frank Rojas - July 03, 2013 12:11 am
    Screw California. WARF should slap suit these guys into bankruptcy.

We provide a valuable forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on posted articles. But there are rules: Don't promote products or services, impersonate other site users, register multiple accounts, threaten or harass others, post vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language. Don't post content that defames or degrades anyone. Don't repost copyrighted material; link to it. In other words, stick to the topic and play nice. Report abuses by clicking the button. Users who break the rules will be banned from commenting. We no longer issue warnings.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Activate subscription button gif

What's hot

Vote! Today's poll


Will you try to attend the Champions Tour when it comes to the Madison area next year?

View Results

Connect With Us