Court rules no patent for Dolly the cloned sheep

A U.S. federal court circuit rules that Dolly the sheep and other cloned animals cannot be patented

Dolly the sheep was all over the news as the first mammal cloned from an adult cell before dying of lung disease in 2003. But in a 10-year an fight to patent Dolly and lay commercial claim to animals produced by cloning came to a screeching halt last week when a federal appeals court ruled against giving a patent to Dolly’s creators, according to ScienceInsider.

Back in 2009, the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh, where Dolly’s creators Keith Campbell and Ian Wilmut made their discovery, received a patent on the method used to make her: somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).  Her creators submitted another claim including other cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats produced using SCNT. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO_ turned down that application citing a law that restricts the subject matter of a patent to exclude laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas. Roslin later appealed the USPTO’s rejection, but it was upheld by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in February 2013. In May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with that decision. Dolly and cloned animals cannot be patented because they are identical to animals found in nature.

Contributing Author

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Amanda Ciccatelli

Amanda G. Ciccatelli is a Contributing Writer for InsideCounsel, where she covers the patent litigation space. Amanda earned a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from...

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