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First Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Patent Approved by the EPO

The European Patent Office (EPO) will grant on 8/3/11, an iPSC patent to Professor Shinya Yamanaka (Kyoto University).

This European (EP) patent (No# EP06834636) will add to the iPSC patent portfolio currently owned by the Kyoto University, which includes 3 Japanese patents (JP4183742, JP4411362, and JP4411363) and 1 British patent (GB2450603) recently transferred from iPierian Inc.

The Bottom Line: Similar to the Japanese and British patents, the EP patent to be granted covers a technique for using at least 3 groups of genes—Oct, Klf and Myc/Sox—optionally in the presence of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) to reprogram somatic cells into iPSCs. While the Japanese and British patents claim the “methods” of reprogramming somatic cells, the EP patent will claim “a nuclear reprogramming factor” requiring the Oct, Klf, and Myc gene families and/or a cytokine such as bFGF. It has been reported that the Kyoto University will register the approved EP patent in each of the 17 member countries of the European Patent Convention, including Britain, Germany, and France. Opposition of Yamanaka’s EP patent can be filed by 5/3/12. Refining the claims, sets the boundries of who can patent, compete and will/can license!