Federal Circuit refuses to review Dolly case
Washington DC | 14 August 2014

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has refused to review en banc its ruling that cloned animals cannot be patented.

The court rejected an argument from the Roslin Institute at Scotland's University of Edinburgh that the animal was man-made and therefore eligible for patent protection. In a two-page order, the Federal Circuit declined to reconsider, either as a panel or en banc.

The appeal arose in 2013 from the US Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) rejection of the institute's application for a patent on cloned animals because the claimed subject matter did not possess markedly different traits than those found in nature.

In May, the Federal Circuit upheld a decision by the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), ruling that the method for creating a genetic clone can be patented, but the animal themselves because they are identical to natural animals.

Dolly herself is an exact genetic replica of another sheep and does not possess markedly different characteristics from any farm animals found in nature," the court wrote. "Dolly's genetic identity to her donor parent renders her unpatentable."

Keith Campbell and Ian Wilmut created Dolly the sheep in 1996 at the institute. She died more than six years later from a progressive lung disease.

The USPTO is currently developing new guidelines for determining whether inventions such as certain antibiotics and biotechnology products are eligible for patent protection after the Supreme Court last year invalidated parts of Myriad Genetics patents covering isolated DNA. The Federal Circuit's opinion is based on that decision.

Author: Franki Webb



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