Statement by BIO Deutschland on the Protection of Intellectual Property in Biotechnology


The protection of intellectual property is of great importance to companies worldwide. The trade association of the German biotechnology sector, the Biotechnology Industry Organisation of Germany (BIO Deutschland), welcomes the German Federal Government’s recognition of this in its Draft Law on the Improvement of the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights . However, the association calls for the amendment of German legislation in order to take into account the needs of small and medium-sized innovative enterprises because “(in research) the necessary investments are particularly high and risky in the area of genetic engineering and can only be financially viable with appropriate legal protection. […] Biotechnology and genetic engineering play an increasingly important role in the various industrial sectors and the protection of biotechnological inventions is of vital importance.”

Inventions by small and medium-sized enterprises create the basis for high-quality jobs and for the future viability of the economy. This is the reason why small and medium-sized enterprises, for instance in the USA, are granted financial benefits for the protection of intellectual property as opposed to their larger, established competitors (“Small Entity Status”). This has an impact beyond the borders of the USA because it is significantly more difficult for innovative technological companies in Germany and Europe to compete than it is for their US competitors.

BIO Deutschland is therefore actively seeking the improvement of conditions for the protection of intellectual property for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany and Europe and demands the following:

  • Intellectual property: a 50 percent reduction of the European fees for filling an application, assessment and issuing as well as the national fees, especially the annual fees, for SMEs, universities and independent inventors.
  • Effective and standardised legal protection in all member states of the European Union (EU) through an unlimited implementation of the EU regulations (the European Parliament¡¦s and European Council¡¦s Regulation 98/44/EG on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions) and the resolution by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office of 16 June 1999.
  • The introduction of a regulation on a period of grace for all types of filling applications, which, in the face of the existing pressure in the sector to publish scientific findings rapidly, would reduce the risk to employers, their staff and investors of advance publications on an invention before its application filling.
  • An amendment of the Law on Staff Inventions, which would ensure that inventions made in a company would be the legal property of the company; the bureaucratic effort involved in the implementation of the law should be reduced, without limiting the compensation entitlement of an inventor employed by a company.
  • In the case of bankruptcy, there should be no obstacles resulting from a right of first refusal of an inventor employed by a company (¡± 27 EStG) in a sale of intellectual property.

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