The German Federal Court (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH = the supreme judicial instance in Germany in all matters pertaining to civil law) has today issued the final decision in the case Brüstle vs. Greenpeace.
Oliver Brüstle: is there a way of obtaining embryonic stem cells without destroying the embryo?
Mr. Brüstle is a German researcher who has submitted a patent claim with regard to embryonic stemcells. Greenpeace is an environmentalist NGO that opposes the grant of this patent, arguing that this would be contrary to EU legislation.
The case had acquired worldwide notoriety when the Court of Justice of the European Union, answering a prejudicial question that had been submitted to it by the BGH, found that the existence of a human embryo begins at the moment of conception, and that therefore inventions that involved the use of embryonic stem cells were therefore excluded from patent protection under the EU Biopatent Directive.