Opposition to patent on human sperm cells
Company Ovasort holds a patent on sex selection
“Some companies are trying to use the human body as a resource that can be exploited for commercial interests. Thousands of patents on human gene sequences have already been granted. There are, in addition, human organs, blood cells and tissue registered as patents. Our opposition aims to clarify ethical boundaries within patent law”, says Christoph Then for Testbiotech. “Patents must not be abused for commercialisation of the human body.”
Testbiotech has placed the Ovasort patent on a “Black List of European Patents”. Amongst others on the list there is a patent on the usage of human oocytes held by Merck-Serano (Germany) which was opposed by Testbiotech in 2009.
Ovasort is aiming to use its patent for in vitro fertilisation in humans as well as in animal breeding. The patent also covers the production of non-human female embryos. Just a few weeks ago, the EPO revoked for technical reasons another patent on sperm cells used in animal breeding. Further, the European Parliament very recently adopted a resolution against patents in plant and animal breeding. It is now 20 years since the EPO granted the first patent on mammals.