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European Court of Justice Rejects Stem-Cell Patents 92

Posted by timothy
from the but-it's-just-a-mass-of-tissue dept.
ianare writes "The European Court of Justice Friday issued a preliminary opinion that procedures involving human embryonic stem cells are not patentable — even if the process in question does not involve the direct destruction of embryos — because they are tantamount to making industrial use of human embryos, which 'would be contrary to ethics and public policy.'"
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European Court of Justice Rejects Stem-Cell Patents

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  • by chichilalescu (1647065) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @06:56AM (#35462598) Homepage Journal

    as far as I understand it, the point of patents is to allow inventors to profit from their invention even though it's not an industrial secret. the community can benefit from understanding why the invention works, and the inventor gets back their investment, plus profit.
    there are a lot of problems with this system at the moment, because too many things are getting patented.
    there are a lot of cases where several researchers concentrate on some given problem, they publish intermediary results, and it is predictable that within some time frame most specialists will arrive at the same solution. however, only the first one to find the final result (or the first one to file for the patent) is awarded the patent. this is wrong in my view, because there is an entire community working in that direction.
    in medicine, I'm pretty confident this is the general case, and pretty much the reason there are several different but similar drugs dealing with the same medical problems.

    basically, I think patents should only be granted to individual researchers who can prove they developped a concept (on their own) based on widely available information. anything other than that is just simple research, and should be rewarded with grants or prizes by private persons/organisations, but not with a patent. "ethics" and religion should have nothing to do with patentability.

  • by gilesjuk (604902) <[giles.jones] [at] [zen.co.uk]> on Saturday March 12, 2011 @07:27AM (#35462728)

    These are techniques using the building blocks of life, not some drug they have developed. If the patented technique is close to how a human life develops then effectively that company would have a patent on human development. That is why it would be unethical and wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2011 @09:39AM (#35463284)

    How exactly is the industrial use of human embryos unethical anyway?

    1) at what point does it legally become "human"? You have to draw a line somewhere for legal purposes. It'll be arbitrary and silly, but it's still necessary.

    2) They are treating humans and human embryos as a special case. This is a good thing (for humans anyway). You don't want the usual sociopathic CEOs to consider the use/abuse of human embryos lightly, all in the purpose of profit.

    If you think that allowing industrial use of human embroys is necessary to provide those treatments you probably believe Monsanto and friends GM plans will cure world hunger or something.

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