The patent granted to the US-based Geron corporation covers both the cloning process itself and the resulting cloned mammalian embryos, including human embryos. Geron bought the technology from the Roslin Institute in Scotland where Dolly was created.
Cloned embryos will be covered by the patent in the early stage of development when all the cells in the embryo are what is known as stem cells. Stem cells are cells that can develop into any sort of tissue. The aim of Geron and it's research partners is use the embryonic stem cells to grow replacement human organs and body parts. The idea being that because the organ had been produced from a clone of the patient requiring a transplant the organ would share the patient's genes and thus not be rejected. Geron claim they have no intention to clone humans and that all the cloned human embryos created for their experiments will not be allowed to develop into foetuses.
The British government is showing itself to be the most willing government in the world to allow cloning. In the US Geron have applied for patents covering the cloning process but have avoided asking for patents on human embryos themselves.
"Britain grant human embryo cloning patent" GENET News
"British Patent on Cloned Human Cells Raises Ethics Concerns", Justin Gillis, Washington Post Tues, Jan 25th, 2000