martedì 23 giugno 2015

The Court of Justice of the European Union Clarifies When Human Embryonic Stem Cells Can Be Patented

Enrico Bonadio 

City University London - The City Law School

Angelo Maria Rovati 

University of Pavia

June 1, 2015

European Journal of Risk Regulation, 5(2) 2015 


On 18 December 2014, in International Stem Cell Corporation v. Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (C-364/13), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered an important decision regarding the scope of the exclusion from patentability on morality-related grounds under Article 6(2) of the EU Biotech Directive.

The Court made an important distinction between embryonic stem cell technologies based on fertilised human ovum and those based on unfertilised human ovum stimulated by parthenogenesis. The CJEU held, in particular, that a human ovum: (i) who is unfertilized and (ii) whose division and further development has been stimulated by parthenogenesis, is not a human embryo under Article 6(2)(c) of the Biotech Directive, if it in itself has not the inherent capacity of developing into a human being, this matter to be ascertained by the national court in the light of current scientific knowledge.

By doing so, the Court clarified its previous ruling in Brüstle (October 2011).