Human embryonic stem cells have unique regenerative properties and the ability to develop into a variety of different cell types. Based on these properties, stem cell research is considered a promising biomedical field for the development of cell-based therapies to treat diseases. It is also a highly contentious field because these cells are derived from human embryos. The United States, unlike the European Union, does not have a moral component to the patent grant process and has granted several stem cell patents. This Note examines the intersection of these broad patents and U.S. policies limiting stem cell research funding and highlights their deleterious effects on the progress of human embryonic stem cell research. This Note also evaluates the feasibility of incorporating ethical criteria, as used in the European Union, for U.S. patent grants and concludes that uniform moral standards would be impossible to determine and effectuate for this process.
Moral Disharmony: Human Embryonic Stem Cell Patent Laws, Warf, and Public Policy,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.