I never understood why patents were ever allowed for embryonic stem cells. They are not human inventions. They — like genes — are naturally occurring.

Accordingly, the European courts have rejected stem cell patents. The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected gene patents. Now, challenges are underway against U.S. patents of embryonic stem cells. From the Chronicle of Higher Education story:

Two advocacy groups, buoyed by the Supreme Court’s ruling last month invalidating gene patents, on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to similarly forbid a patent on human embryonic stem cells held by the University of Wisconsin’s research marketing arm. The suit against the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation was filed by Consumer Watchdog and the Public Patent Foundation. It was made possible only after the plaintiffs finished slogging through years of appeals at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the advocacy groups . . .

Loring said, a court victory involving human embryonic stem cells would make clear the breadth of the Supreme Court’s decision in the gene patent case that no forms of nature can be patented. “There is an argument to be made for letting the world know that this kind of thing is not allowed,” she said.

Politics aside, I don’t know how that possibly loses. But if there is one thing we have learned in the last fifteen years, when it comes to pro embryonic stem cell research, politics often trumps law.

Question: What about human clones? They don’t occur in nature. But they involve human life. Human life should also not be patentable.