Journal Article

Where now for stems cell patents?

Scott Parker and Paul England

in Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

Volume 7, issue 10, pages 738-746
Published in print October 2012 | ISSN: 1747-1532
Published online October 2012 | e-ISSN: 1747-1540 | DOI:
Where now for stems cell patents?

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Scott Parker is a Partner with Simmons & Simmons LLP, in the international IP group. Paul England is a professional support lawyer in the international IP group at the same firm.

Stem cells are central to the development of humans and other organisms. They have the potential to regnerate tissue and also act as a 'repair system' for the body. The aim of stem cell therapy is to harness these characteristics for treatment. However, with such potential benefits for medicine and the commercial rewards that may follow, a key question is how will those who invest in this research be able to protect the technology they develop?

The Brustle decision in particular has been received with a chorus of disapproving voices. Quite aside from moral commentaries there are widespread fears that it will bring stem cell research and business in Europe to a stop. Are these fears justified?

This article examines the legal background to stem cell patenting, in particular the WARF and Brustle decisions; the criticisms levelled at Brustle; the limits on its application; and, how other forms of protection and new scientific developments may be used to avoid its consequences.

Journal Article.  6627 words. 

Subjects: Arbitration ; Intellectual Property Law

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