3D Printed Human Organs and the Debate on Applicable Patent Law

20 11 2015


October 7, 2015

Andrew Armstrong

According to the non-profit group, United Network for Organ Sharing, there are over 122,000 individuals currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in the United States. Unfortunately for many of those on that wait list, a suitable donor will never be found for them, and they will succumb to their ailment or condition as a result. However hope may be on the horizon, as 3D printed human organs are coming increasingly close to being a reality according to several reports.

In addition to potentially saving thousands of lives every year, this ground-breaking technology raises issues related to patent law that cannot be ignored. Are human organs and/or tissues that are created through 3D printing process that use naturally-occurring cells eligible for patenting? Or are such organs and tissues considered to be products of nature and therefore ineligible for patenting?


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