BIO Deutschland Representatives Meet Staff from the Federal Ministry of Justice

At the end of last year, BIO Deutschland sent a letter to the Justice Ministry with the aim of making clear the disadvantages facing biotechnological patent registrations as a result of the decisions by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office to change the registration fees and deadlines for divisional registrations. In response to the letter, the Justice Ministry issued an invitation to a discussion in Berlin at the end of January. The chairmen of BIO Deutschland’s Working Group on Licences and Technical Contracts, Martin Pöhlchen and Rainer Wessel, along with Michael Kahnert from the BIO Deutschland office, took part in this exchange of views. As in the position paper previously drafted on this topic, the representatives of BIO Deutschland pointed out that the above-mentioned decisions by the Administrative Council had a particular impact on biotechnology applicants. The ministry made clear that it had voted for another decision in the Administrative Council, but had been outvoted.

In addition, the topic of the failed amendment to the draft of clause 108a of the Insolvency Statute, which was to regulate the resistance of licences to insolvency, was discussed. BIO Deutschland reiterated that this type of regulation would be of particular value to the small and medium-sized enterprises that conduct research.  Innovative companies in particular need reliable licences so that they can market them securely and not at less than they are worth as one of their most important generators of value and sources of income. Currently, insolvency administrators have the right to decide whether a licence agreement will be continued or cancelled in cases of insolvency of the licensor. This risk of insolvency has a significant impact of the value of licenses. According to the Justice Ministry, the expert level is in favour of the introduction of a regulation on the resistance of licence agreements to insolvency. However, no political decision has been made yet.

Furthermore, the introduction of a Community patent, a single European patent jurisdiction, and a period of grace for innovations were discussed. While the initiative on the Community patent and jurisdiction is going well, the introduction of a period of grace for innovations seems to be a long way off due to the lack of consensus on the international harmonisation of patent law.

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