Monday, January 09, 2006

Breaking News...well sort of

I saw this coming over the weekend, but could not find the time to do the research for a proper post. However since I knew this would drive the bloggers in Korea crazy, I thought I should post a bit on what has been said. Over the weekend the Pittsburgh Tribune talked about how one Hwang collaborator Gerald Schatten is trying to patent cloning technologies:

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is processing a application -- still active as of Friday -- filed on April 9, 2004, by reproductive biologist Gerald Schatten, who heads the university's Pittsburgh Development Center at Magee-Womens Research Institute in Oakland.

Obviously it talks some about the Hwang controversy. Some how the Korea Times frames the story in this headline:

'Schatten Stole Hwang's Patent'

The Times article is essentially a rehash of the Pitt Trib, however they do have some comment from Seoul National. Funny however they leave out this passage from the original, emphasis mine:

Hwang and other South Korean researchers filed for an international patent Dec. 30, 2004, to protect their methods for deriving stem cells from cloned human embryos. 

Schatten is not listed as an inventor on the international patent application -- filed eight months after the Pitt researcher applied for a U.S. patent for a similar method, according to documents obtained from the World Intellectual Property Organization. The 46-page international patent application also does not cite any of Schatten's previous research. 

Similarly, Schatten's 18-page U.S. patent application makes no reference to Hwang's work, including another paper published by the Korean scientist in Science the month before that which outlines supposed breakthroughs in the same cloning field.

Who is stealing who's work?

I think I am going to have to go after the WIPO documents today or so. I did try the USPTO, yet the application link on the USPTO website is not working at the moment. However, (assuming I did my search right) this is the link info for the Schatten patent mentioned in the first part of the article:

App#: 20040268422
Title: Methods for correcting mitotic spindle defects associated with somatic cell nuclear transfer in animals

Based on the title, I fail to see how this "steals" Hwang's work based on his earlier patents and applications as outlined before. In fact, much of the doubt of Hwang's work came from shoddy mitotic DNA evidence as I recall.


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