"Frozen sperm/XY" patent revoked

3 May 2012

A Technical Board of Appeal of the EPO has decided to revoke the so-called "Frozen sperm/XY" patent after hearing all parties in public oral proceedings in an appeal procedure today.

European Patent 1257168 B1 was granted to the US company XY in February 2005 in respect of a "Method of cryopreserving selected sperm cells". It contained a claim referring to a method using a frozen selected sperm sample for in vitro fertilization. In November 2005, the patent was opposed by Greenpeace e.V., Monsanto Company (who later withdrew their opposition), and Mrs Hiltrud Breyer MEP (Greens).

The opposition procedure led to the maintenance of the patent in an amended form - a decision that was appealed by the patentee and one of the opponents in 2008. The resulting appeal procedure now has ended with the revocation of the patent in suit.

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