Manual Biotechnology and Patent Law

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N2 - This article looks at the impact of biotechnology on traditional patent law.

Biotechnology and patents

The author argues that biotechnological inventions have unique features, which makes it difficult to use the usual patterns of legal and factual interpretation. In particular, the author argues that traditional patent rules must be interpreted in a different and more indulgent way when it comes to the patentability of biotech inventions. This entails that the patentability threshold for biotech products and processes is lower than in other fields of technology. It also entails that biotech patents accord to their patentees a wider scope of exclusive rights.

What cannot be patented? Software, apps and business methods Biotechnology and patents Biotechnology and ethics Explore your options Patents in Sweden and abroad Guidance on choosing an agent Examples of companies' costs for patents Costs Swedish patent application International protection Examples of patents Why apply for a patent?

Questions about patents? Biotechnology and patents Print. Patentable biotechnological inventions Methods for producing or analysing proteins and their use in an analysis method or in a medicinal product. Proteins, DNA sequences, microorganisms and constituents of the human body for example, cells which already exist in nature, if they are isolated from their natural environment or produced by a technical procedure, and have not been described previously.


A gene, which is isolated and given a new task as a medicinal product or diagnostic tool. Genetically modified products, such as plants and animals. Non-patentable biotechnological inventions Pure discoveries, such as discovered but not isolated or further described parts of animals, plants or microorganisms. Plant varieties and animal breeds.

For a definition of plant variety, see chapter 1, section 3 of the Act on the Protection of Plant Breeders' Rights. Inventions that are contrary to public order or morality, which society regards as unethical and unacceptable.

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A biological patent is a patent on an invention in the field of biology that by law allows the patent holder to exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing the protected invention for a limited period of time. The scope and reach of biological patents vary among jurisdictions, [1] and may include biological technology and products, genetically modified organisms and genetic material.

The applicability of patents to substances and processes wholly or partially natural in origin is a subject of debate.

Life Sciences/Biotech Patent Law Services from Birch Stewart Kolasch Birch LLP

However, the U. Supreme Court came to the opposite conclusion only a few months later. The Australian ruling has been appealed to the Full Bench of the Federal Court; submissions in the case include consideration of the U.


Supreme Court ruling. The European Patent Office has ruled that European patents cannot be granted for processes that involve the destruction of human embryos. Under the umbrella of biotechnology , applications for patents on biological inventions are examined according to general guidelines for patents.

In response to requests for additional clarity, the Japan Patent Office JPO set forth specific guidelines for biology-related inventions. Over the years, the JPO has continued to amend these guidelines to clarify their application to new technologies.

In Person: A Career in Biotech Patent Law

These amendments have broadened the scope of patents within the biotechnology industry. In the United States, up until natural biological substances themselves could have been patented apart from any associated process or usage if they were sufficiently "isolated" from their naturally occurring states.

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Prominent historical examples of such patents include those on adrenaline , [10] insulin , [11] vitamin B 12 , [12] and various genes. The patenting of genes is a controversial issue in terms of bioethics. Some believe it is unethical to patent genetic material because it treats life as a commodity , or that it undermines the dignity of people and animals by allowing ownership of genes. While some feel that a patent on living material is unethical, others [ who?