S.Korea scientist wins dog cloning court battle

September 19, 2009
South Korea's disgraced cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk, seen here in August, has won a copyright battle over dog-cloning techniques, at a court in Seoul.

Disgraced South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk has won a copyright battle over dog-cloning techniques his colleagues said Saturday.

A Seoul district court on Friday ruled that his technology is different from procedures patented by the Seoul National University.

RNL Bio, which bought the patent from the university, filed a lawsuit against the Sooam Biotech Research Center led by Hwang a year ago after Hwang's team produced cloned dogs for a foreign biotech company.

"The court accepted that Sooam's technology is a new invention, which is different from the existing technique bought by RNL Bio from the Seoul National University," Hwang's colleague Hyun Sang-Hwan told AFP.

An RNL Bio official said the company was considering an appeal.

A team of researchers at the Seoul National University produced the world's first cloned dog, an Afghan hound named Snuppy, in 2005, under Hwang's stewardship.

But Hwang was later fired by the university after his landmark studies on cloned human stem cells in 2004 and 2005 were exposed as fraudulent.

Hwang has no claim over the university's dog cloning technology as South Korean law states that intellectual property developed by a government-run institution belongs to the state.

Prosecutors here last month demanded a four-year jail term for Hwang, who is on trial for fraud, embezzlement and ethical breaches in connection with the fraudulent research.

(c) 2009 AFP

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