Monday, January 06, 2014

Bloomberg Reports on the WARF hESC Patent Challenge

The California-based challenge to the WARF patents involving hESC research drew national media coverage this week on Bloomberg News.

Susan Decker of Bloomberg described the heart of the matter as a dispute over who profits from stem cell research. She wrote,
“'What we’re asking the government to do is say WARF has no right' to the patent, said Dan Ravicher, executive director Public Patent Foundation in New York, which is handling the challenge for Consumer Watchdog(of Santa Monica, Ca.) 'It’s like the government sent a check to WARF they didn’t deserve.'”
Dan Ravicher and Jeanne Loring at Post Office
when they filed the patent challenge July 17,
2006.  The photo was taken by an anonymous
 woman at the Post Office with Loring's camera. 
The challenge to the patents was filed by Consumer Watchdog and researcher Jeanne Loring of Scripps seven years ago. They contend that the patents are “too similar to earlier research” to be valid and that they hinder scientific research. They also contend that the Myriad decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that limits the right of ownership of human genes should also apply to stem cells. Ravicher successfully argued the Myriad case before the high court.

Decker said the issue is no small matter and involves major developments in medicine. She reported,
“'The next paradigm shift in medicine will be advances in cell therapy -- it’s under way,' said Jason Kolbert, senior biotechnology analyst with Maxim Group LLC in New York. He said pharmaceutical makers such as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) of Petach Tikva, Israel, and Pfizer (PFE) Inc. of New York are working with stem-cell researchers on new therapies.”
Decker reported that written arguments from the U.S. Patent Office are scheduled to be delivered Jan. 17 to the federal district court of appeals in Washington, D.C.

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