ScienceScope

Science  28 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5615, pp. 1961
  1. India Adds Red Tape to Foreign Interactions

    NEW DELHI—Collaborating with India's top universities just got harder. New guidelines from the Human Resource Development Ministry require the country's 16 central universities to obtain prior clearance before signing a memorandum of understanding with a foreign institution or bringing in a foreign scholar. The new rules, issued this winter, cover everything from the expected cost of the collaboration to the parentage of the visiting scholar.

    Indian science minister M. M. Joshi greets Swiss scientist Ingo Potrykus.CREDIT: P. BAGLA

    The ministry cites “political security” and increased “sensitivity” as the reasons for the closer scrutiny, while noting that such collaborations remain “highly desirable” for universities hoping to remain globally competitive. But physicist Yash Pal, former chair of the University Grants Commission, worries that the guidelines “will lead to fantastic delays” and may make some collaborations impractical.

  2. One Down as Cloning Patent Wars Rage On

    A complicated patent battle over cloning rights has been simplified somewhat. Last week, a panel of judges at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled that Infigen in DeForest, Wisconsin, failed to meet a 1-year deadline to file an objection to a patent held by Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) in Worcester, Massachusetts. The two companies, along with Geron in Menlo Park, California, have been asserting claims to animal-cloning technology in hopes of reaping the huge expected benefits from livestock cultivation and treatment of human diseases.

    Although ACT is now safe from Infigen, the patent office has yet to deal with Geron's claim that ACT's patent overlaps with rights Geron obtained by taking over the Roslin Institute in Scotland. Roslin scientists created Dolly, the first animal to be cloned using a nucleus from an adult somatic cell. ACT's Michael West says that ACT has rights to cloning technology using nuclei from “nonquiescent” somatic cells and that Geron's patents cover only cloning using quiescent cells. Geron is also claiming that Infigen has infringed on its patent rights.

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