As reported in our December 2008 Newsletter the EPO EBA rejected an application for a patent with claims covering human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) where it was accepted that at the filing date the only starting point for the creation of hESCs was the destruction of a human embryo. As indicated in our Newsletter the decision did not sit well with the UKIPO’s practice of allowing claims to pluripotent hESCs (which do not have the potential to develop into an entire human body) notwithstanding that at present hESCs have to be sourced by the destruction of human embryos or by methods that arguably create “human embryos” (such as transfer of human nuclei into enucleated cells). The UKIPO has now issued a practice note setting out its approach to claims covering hESCs and clarifying that it will “continue to grant patents for inventions involving such cells provided they satisfy the normal requirements for patentability and provided that, at the filing or priority date, the invention could be obtained by means other than the destruction of human embryos”.