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Human Animal Chimera Patent Challenge

In 1997, Dr. Stuart Newman, the inventor of the patent claim and Jeremy Rifkin, the co-owner of the invention, submitted a patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) seeking a patent for certain human/animal hybrid life forms (chimeras) including a "humouse" and a "humanzee". The patent raised fundamental questions regarding how much human material is patentable under existing U.S. statutes. The patent was ultimately rejected by the US PTO in 2005. The aim of the patent was not to actually create the chimeras, but, rather, to force the US PTO to deny patents on all human-animal chimeric inventions in the future. If the PTO were to have granted the patent, Dr. Newman and Mr. Rifkin pledged to hold the twenty-year patent on such research in order to keep others from attempting to create and patent such creations.


Nature, Legal Fight Looms Over Patent Bid on Human/Animal Chimaeras, April 2, 1998

Washington Post,  Rifkin Files Human-Chimp Chimaera Patent, April 2, 1998

Newsweek, A Biotech Roadblock, April 13, 1998

Washington Post, What is Patently Offensive?, May 11, 1998

Washington Post, US Human/Chimpanzee Life Form Patent Challenge by Jeremy Rifkin and Stuart Newman Will Now Go to the Federal Courts, June 17, 1999

Science, Legal Fight Over Patents on Life, June 25, 1999

Legal Times, He's Not Just Monkeying Around, August 16, 1999

Los Angeles Times, Patently Provoking a Debate, May 12, 2002

Nature, Biotech Critic Tries to Sew Up Research on Chimaeras, January 2, 2003

Mother Jones, Gods and Monsters, January/February 2004

Washington Post, U.S. Denies Patent for a Too-Human Hybrid, February 13, 2005

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