Statutory guidance

Inventions involving human embryonic stem cells: 25 March 2015

This page provides information on the patenting of inventions involving human embryonic stem cells.



This notice replaces and updates the guidance given in the Office’s previous Practice Notices dated 3 February 2009, 17 May 2012, and 27 June 2014.

European Directive 98/44/EC (“the Directive”) on the patentability of biotechnological inventions was implemented into UK law by virtue of amendments to the Patents Act 1977 (“the Act”). Any interpretation of the Directive by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) is therefore binding on the UK.

In C-34/10 (“Brüstle”) and C-364/13 (“International Stem Cell Corporation”), the CJEU ruled on the interpretation of Article 6(2)(c) of the Directive. This Article excludes from patentability uses of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes. Paragraph 3(d) of Schedule A2 to the Act corresponds to Article 6(2)(c) of the Directive.

Published 25 March 2015