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Patents cannot be given for research methods that destroy healthy human embryos to obtain stem cells, German court rules

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8248 (Published 03 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8248
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. 1Hamburg

Germany’s highest court has ruled that research methods that involve the use of stem cells gathered from human embryos destroyed in the process cannot be patented.1

The ruling, by the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, comes after a long legal battle between the German researcher Oliver Brüstle, who in 1997 had filed a stem cell patent application, and the global environmental advocacy group Greenpeace. In October 2011 the European Court of Justice issued a similar ruling involving the same case, meaning that German law on this specific issue is now in line with European law.2

However, the German court ruled …

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