Stem Cell Patents: European Patent Law and Ethics

  • Plomer, Aurora (Principal Investigator)
  • Torremans, Paul (Principal Investigator)

Project Details


Stem cell research, and embryonic stem cell research in particular, offers the prospect of developing new therapies for serious or life-threatening diseases. But for the potential offered by stem cell research to be realized into therapeutic products, industrial or commercial investment is required. At the same time, embryonic stem cell research raises difficult and controverted moral questions which are reflected in the variety of moral perspectives and regulatory regimes already adopted or currently being developed in EU member States which vary from total prohibition to qualified authorization in varying forms and degrees. The diversity of legal regimes regulating embryonic stem cell research in Europe together with the subsidiary principle which devolves competency on legislation concerning ethical questions to members States, has created uncertainty as to the legal scope of the moral exclusion clause in Article 6 of Directive 98/44EC of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions. Clarification on the scope of the Directive is essential to foster research and investment in Europe whilst ensuring that such research is conducted within clear ethical limits which address the concerns of society. The project aims to provide an analysis of the EU patent system, as applied to biotechnological inventions in general and to embryonic stem cell related technology in particular with a view to ascertain the legal effect of ethical or legal divergence on European patent law. The multi-faceted nature of the question raised requires the combined efforts of experts from different disciplines to contribute to the coordination, analysis and dissemination of knowledge in this area. The multidisciplinary character of the Consortium is intended to bring the required breadth and depth of expertise to bear on the project
Effective start/end date1/01/0530/06/06


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