News of the WeekBIOPATENTS

Legal Fight Over Patents on Life

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Science  25 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5423, pp. 2067-2069
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5423.2067a

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Biologist Stuart Newman is trying to get a patent on a "humanzee"--a chimeric animal made from human and chimpanzee embryos--in order to prevent other people from making one and to challenge the rules for patenting life. Together with Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, Newman is embroiled in a strange legal contest with the government that entered a new phase last week as the duo announced that--to their delight--the Patent and Trademark Office had turned down their patent application.