September 24, 2008

Controversial Cloning Patent Not Discarded Yet

It was announced on Wednesday by Australia's patent office that it had observed no cause to discard a patent for controversial technology on cloning human embryos supported by inaccurate research by dishonored scientist Hwang Woo-suk from South Korea.

Hwang made news in 2004 when he was discovered to have falsified important parts of the informative report that his panel had used somatic cell nuclear transfer to successfully clone human embryos.

Australia's intellectual property office (IP Australia) stated that it was taking into consideration the patent request by Seoul National University due to Hwang's fallacious research. Hwang is named as an inventor on the patent application.

"During examination, IP Australia considered that information relating to the falsification of research results involving Dr Hwang were related to issues of utility (usefulness) and not matter that could be objected to in examination," said David Johnson, Acting Commissioner of Patents.

IP Australia noted that the choice to allow the patent was derived on whether the technology was innovative and not whether the inventions perform as claimed.

"There is no statutory basis to refuse to grant a patent on the basis that the scientific data in a patent application is a misrepresentation or fraudulently obtained. However, it is a ground for revocation by the court," Johnson stated.

The patent application was approved on June 12 and the cut-off date for opposition concluded on September 12. There were no objections filed for the patent during the approved time period.

"While the application has met the criteria relevant to examination, it is important to note that the application has not yet been granted. IP Australia is continuing to investigate the matter," Johnson said.

As of yet, IP Australia announced that it had not yet given a patent.