Here’s a ready answer the next time you hear the talking point that embryonic stem cells were only discovered in 1998, and so we should just get out of the way and let the poor researchers play with their new toy.
From the Wisconsin Technology Network:
In challenging the WARF patent, the Public Patent Foundation submitted what it said was unseen “art” or evidence that the previous work of other scientists made the derivation of human embryonic stem cells “obvious and therefore unpatentable.”
Dr. Jeanne Loring, a stem cell scientist with the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, said the real invention was made 25 years ago, when embryonic stem cells first were discovered. Loring said Thomson “just followed a recipe written by other scientists, and there’s nothing patentable about that.”
Loring has provided the USPTO with more than 30 pages of information chronicling previous stem cell discoveries. (emphasis is mine)