Last weekend, The New York Times discovered that the US Patent Office had issued a patent for a procedure to generate human stem cells.

This, by itself, isn’t especially surprising. What is surprising is the recipient: Hwang Woo-suk, the Korean researcher who is widely considered to have faked his data in the paper that claimed derivation of the first cloned human stem cells.
Astonishingly, the patent was for the work that’s now regarded by almost everyone other than Hwang as being fraudulent.
The award came despite the fact that the USPTO originally had decided not to award the patent because the patent application did not contain a proper description of the work.

A signed affidavit from Hwang himself was apparently all that was needed to clear this hurdle and allow the patent to go forward.

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