SONN Patentanwälte – IP Attorneys

Animal suffering not balanced by the benefit to mankind

It must be examined in each case whether the benefit of an invention to mankind is so great that it weighs up animal suffering caused in the production of the subject matter of the invention. The commercial exploitation of the invention of a pharmaceutical preparation is contrary to public policy or morality if there is a variety of alternative medicinal products on the market which achieve the same or a comparable therapeutic effect without their production requiring the same degree of animal suffering. Therefore, such an invention is excluded from patentability. When examining Art 53 (a) EPC, it must also be considered whether the invention opens up new ways of researching or treating diseases (such as the invention of the transgenic mouse underlying decision T 19/90, which opened up new research possibilities in the field of oncology at the price of suffering of a limited number of animals) or whether the animal suffering is limited to a certain number of animals required for experiments (but not for the repeated production of the subject matter of the invention) (EPO BoA 28/09/2020, T 1553/15, Rabbit skin extract/VANWORLD).