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SCIENCE BRIEFING

Stem cell patent is rejected in Europe

November 29, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The European patent agency on Friday refused to give the University of Wisconsin a patent for the creation and use of embryonic stem cells, saying it won't patent anything requiring "the use and destruction of human embryos."

The ruling by an appeals board of the European Patent Office may apply to as many as 200 similar inventions pending in Europe, said Rainer Osterwalder, a spokesman for the Munich-based agency.

Though such patents may be possible in the U.S., the board's decision shows "very clearly" that they aren't in Europe.

The office's Enlarged Board of Appeal said its ruling didn't concern "the patentability in general of inventions relating to human stem cells or human stem-cell cultures."

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