Oncomouse

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(Redirected from Harvard mouse)

The Oncomouse or Harvard mouse is a type of laboratory mouse that has been genetically modified to carry a specific gene called an activated oncogene. The activated oncogene significantly increases the mouse’s susceptibility to cancer, and thus makes the mouse suitable for cancer research.

Patent applications on the oncomouse were filed back in the mid-1980s in numerous countries such as in the United States, in Canada and in Europe through the European Patent Office (EPO).

European patent application 85304490.7 was filed in June 1985 by "The President and Fellows of Harvard College". It was initially refused in 1989 by an examination division of the European Patent Office among other things on the grounds that the European Patent Convention (EPC) excludes patentability of animals per se. The decision was appealed and the Board of Appeal held that animal varieties were excluded of patentability by the EPC (and especially its Article 53(b)), while animals (as such) were not excluded from patentability (T 19/90 [1] (http://legal.european-patent-office.org/dg3/biblio/t900019ep1.htm)). The examination division then granted the patent in 1992 (its publication number is EP 0169672).

The European patent was then opposed by several third parties, more precisely by 17 opponents, notably on the grounds laid out in Art. 53(a) EPC [2] (http://www.european-patent-office.org/legal/epc/e/ar53.html#A53), according to which "inventions the publication or exploitation of which would be contrary to "ordre public" or morality" are excluded from patentability. After opposition proceedings took place in November 2001, the patent has been maintained in amended form. This decision was then appealed and the appeal decision was taken on July 6, 2004 (T 315/03 [3] (http://legal.european-patent-office.org/dg3/biblio/t030315ex1.htm)). The case was remitted to the first instance, i.e. the opposition division, with the order to maintain the patent on a newly amended form.

See also

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