Robin Feldman has published an article with Deborah Furth called "The Intellectual Property Landscape for iPS Cells," 3 Stanford J. L. Sci. & Pol. 17 (2010) (peer reviewed). Here is the abstract:
Beginning in 2006, induced pluripotent stem cells have raised the tantalizing possibility that stem cell research could move forward without the significant moral and ethical dilemmas that have paralyzed the field. These cells, known as iPS cells, originate from adult somatic cells, but function in a manner that is almost equivalent to embryonic stem cells. If iPS cell research lives up to its promise, stem cell research, diagnostics, and treatment could be accomplished without destroying or in any way interfering with human embryos or their development.
While we may be entering a historic moment in stem cell research, we are also facing a historic period in American patent law. Of the five key principles of patentability, three are currently in flux, creating challenges for those who would navigate the system. In the brief space alloted here, we will survey the shifting landscape in American patent law, as it may affect the rights available to iPS cell inventors. This brief overview may serve not only as an alert for scientists in the field, but also as a reminder to those of us in the patent world that our failure to resolve doctrinal uncertainties can have a tangible effect on scientific research.