Thursday, July 17, 2014

CJEU Judge Agrees with ISCO and UK Court. Finds Parthenotes not Human Embryos. Opens way for Patents to be Approved

The Advocate General delivered his opinion this morning, essentially agreeing with the UK Court and ISCO that parthenotes, because they cannot become humans, should not be considered part of the definition of a human embryo.

The ruling is quite long, and contains a lot of analysis, follow the CJEU ruling link for the whole text, but appears to clear the way for ISCO's UK patents to now be approved.

Here's just the final conclusion paragraph.
V – Conclusion

80. In the light of the foregoing, I suggest that the Court should answer the question referred by the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division (Patents Court) as follows:

Unfertilised human ova whose division and further development have been stimulated by parthenogenesis are not included in the term ‘human embryos’ in Article 6(2)(c) of Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions as long as they are not capable of developing into a human being and have not been genetically manipulated to acquire such a capacity.

We'll have a longer press release when we've had a chance to read the full judgement.


  1. Something else that people may not be aware of is that this ruling now conflicts with the Dickey-Wicker amendment in the US, which currently, because of the inclusion of parthenogenesis in the definition of a human embryo, prevents ISCO from receiving Federal, i.e. NIH, funding grants, for it’s research.

    With the EU precedent it may be possible to challenge the relevant section of the Dickey-Wicker amendment.

  2. Also appearing in the WSJ

  3. And Bloomberg

  4. Interesting detailed write up of the whole stem cells and patents on Mentions ISCO at the end.