Is a 3D Printed Organ a “Human Organism” under Patent Law?

As 3D printing technology improves, the potential for printing human organs is becoming a reality… but are human tissues and organs patentable under the law?  The America Invents Act (AIA) clearly prohibits the patenting of any claim “directed to or encompassing a human organism.”  The question becomes whether a 3D printing of tissues and/or organs constitutes a human organism. In the past, patents have issued for organisms that are “non-naturally occurring” such as a bacterium that breaks down crude oil.  As technology improves this is sure to be a uncertain area of the law. 


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