“Biopatent Monitoring Committee” gives positive report

The European Directive on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions 98/44/EC was transformed into national law on 10 June 2005. The Austrian Parliament has connected the establishment of a special monitoring committee to this transformation. This committee (the “Biopatent Monitoring Committee”) had the task of monitoring the impact of this transformation into Austrian law on

  • human rights, animals, plants and ecological systems
  • the national granting and decision practice
  • consumer protection, agriculture and developing countries
  • whether inventions contrary to human rights and morality were granted, and
  • research and economy, especially on SMEs.

The Committee consists of a variety of representatives of interested circles (e.g. the Chambers of Patent Attorneys, Lawyers, Commerce, Industry, the Ministries of Economy, Health, Science, Chamber of Employees, the Union, and the Society for Consumer Information).

The Committee delivered its First Report to the Austrian Parliament in June 2006. Now, the Committee has delivered its Second Report in June 2009. This Second Report showed a continuation of positive developments in the economic field, despite the time of crisis which specifically hit the biotech industry with respect to funding with venture capital. Despite these general developments, investments and number of employees have risen and confidence was expressed by the SMEs in this field, especially because of the expectation of legal certainty for their patents. It was, again, positively observed that the transformation of university research into commercial projects was significantly improved. On the other hand, negative consequences, which had often been worried about in the past, were not observed by the committee, not even with respect to publication activity of university scientists also involved in patenting.

The present Second Report is already available under www.parlament.gv.at/PG/DE/XXIV/III/III_00074/pmh.shtml.

Dr. Daniel Alge