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Abstract

The recent establishment of human embryonic stem cell lines has inspired a new revolution in therapeutic treatments and cures for injuries or disease. Individual states have begun to circumvent the lack of federal funding by independently raising monetary support for the research. The patentee, The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, has reminded those hoping to benefit from the state funding that the Foundation will require royalties for the commercial use of its patented technology. The loss of state taxpayer money to the patent holder ignited a challenge on the patents themselves. Interest groups requested a reexamination of the stem cell patents and succeeded as the United States Patent & Trademark Office has rejected all of the claims in each patent. This comment analyzes specific issues raised in the reexamination and evaluates the righteousness of the royalties. The comment proposes retention of patent law policy by continuing to reward innovation in order to promote future invention and permitting a patentee to assess royalties for his efforts. The comment also recommends an improved patent review process to lessen harassment of patentees and strengthen the quality of patents issued.

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