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Ethical questions to ponder in the European stem cell patent debate

Ethical questions to ponder in the European stem cell patent debate

Journal of Biolaw and Business 9(3): 12-16

ISSN/ISBN: 1095-5127

PMID: 17152135

Patents may be refused in Europe on ethical grounds. Whereas in the past this issue has arisen only infrequently, recent developments in human embryonic stem cell research have given rise to conflicting opinions in Europe as to the approach that should be adopted in relation to patents. The United Kingdom Patent Office has adopted a positive policy towards inventions involving human embryonic stem cells, but the European Patent Office has to date refused to grant patent applications involving similar subject-matter. A series of legal questions on the role of ethics in granting European patents is now to be considered for clarification by the European Patent Office. The answers to these questions should eventually resolve the debate on the patenting of human embryonic stem cells throughout Europe.

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