Web Date: January 24, 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 continues its review of 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. The sponsoring companies will still need to obtain a license once the work moves into company labs or the work enters the product development phase. 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.
"WARF's stem cell policies have evolved over the years, always in favor of increasing access and making it easier for scientists to move technology forward," said Carl E. Gulbrandsen, WARF's managing director. "These latest changes reflect an ongoing dialogue with researchers and university administrators across the country."
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