Issue Date: January 29, 2007
Stem cell patent enforcement eased
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) has announced three policy changes to the licensing terms covering the set of patents it holds on primate embryonic stem cells. The policy changes come as the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is reviewing the validity of the patents (C&EN, Jan. 15, page 31). The first policy change will allow industry-sponsored research to be done at academic or nonprofit institutions without a license from WARF. A company will still need to obtain a license once the work moves into its labs or the work is being developed into a commercial product. Another change in policy will allow researchers to transfer WARF cells to others for free. Previously, such transfers required a license. The final change clarifies WARF's position related to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), a nonprofit, grant-making organization set up to distribute stem cell research funds created by the state's $3 billion bond initiative. The change clears CIRM to make grants to and collect funds from its grantees without remitting any payment to WARF.
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