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USPTO backs WARF stem cell patents

Eileen McDermott, New York and Eklavya Gupte, London 

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) was celebrating last month after the USPTO issued favourable decisions on three controversial patent applications for stem cells. But two public interest groups who challenged the patents have vowed to fight the latest rulings.

Last month, the PTO approved amended applications for two of the patents (numbers 5,843,780 and 6,200,806), which claim preparations of, respectively, primate and human embryonic stem cells and methods for their isolation. In a separate decision, on February 23, a third patent (number 7,029,913) was upheld by the PTO following an obviousness challenge.

The technology in all three patents was developed by the scientist who established the...

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