Volume 87, Number 2

May 2012

Stemming the Tide: On the Patentability of Stem Cells and Differentiation Processes

Leeron Morad

Embryonic stem cells present novel questions of patentable subject matter eligibility. This Note examines the patentability of two types of patents: embryonic stem cells and methods of differentiating embryonic stem cells. After explaining patentable subject matter doctrine and ways of testing whether an invention is patentable, the Note posits that neither type of invention is patentable because the biological principles involved in both types of inventions are almost identical to the biological phenomena that occur naturally in the developing embryo. Additionally, the Note explains that, from a normative standpoint, patents should not be granted over these inventions.