Reporter Jim Downing of The Sacramento Bee quoted Stanford law professor Hank Greely as saying:
"The mere fact … of having a new way to make embryonic stem cells weakens the WARF patents, which I think is a good thing."Downing continued:
"Greely said that the main complaint with the Wisconsin patents is how the foundation has chosen to enforce them.Downing reported that WARF did not respond to two requests for comment. However, the Wisconsin Technology Network did have a general reaction from WARF in a piece by Joe Vanden Plas.
"'Stanford and UCSF have the seminal genetic engineering patent, and they … quite cleverly, had very lenient license terms for non-universities -- a relatively small cash amount and a small royalty,' Greely said. 'And the result was, the technology went everywhere and those two universities made a lot of money.'
"By contrast, he said, 'WARF is making enemies.'"
"Andrew Cohn, a spokesman for WARF, said the new method of deriving stem cells should not hurt Wisconsin's standing as a leader in stem-cell research. He also said WiCell, the nation's first stem-cell bank and a subsidiary of WARF, would be interested in helping distribute stem cell lines derived from this method.
"He also said it's too early to tell how the new method would impact WARF's stem cell patents. 'We don't even know what they claim in their patents, but that's the last thing we're concerned about,' Cohn said. 'We need time to dissect and digest its full impact.'"