On patentability of the human body

"The Scientific Committee of the SIBI debates the patentability of the human body. The Directive approved in 1998 by the competent institutions of the European Union on the Legally Protection of the Bio-technological Inventions tries to be an answer of support to the investigations that are being made in Europe in the field of the Biotechnology. The referred Directive has decided on the concession of the patents to such inventions without doing the demanded traditional requirements for the affluent patentabiliity that making flexible some of them: inventive activity or originality, newness or nonobviousness and utility in industrial application.

A boarded delicate subject by the Directive and who was object of intense discussion in the past is the question of the patent of parts of the human body, mainly of human genes or partial sequences of human genes. The answer given by the Directive has been to deny the patent (to be a discovery and not about an invention) to such elements as soon as such. Nevertheless the patentability of an isolated element of the human body obtained by any procedure is accepted, even although it is genes or part of them still in case the structure of this element is identical to the one of a natural element.

The Scientific Committee of the SIBI has discussed these and other aspects of the Directive having reached the conclusion that in spite of the made efforts leaving the clearest possible applicable legally regime in that one, some dark points and little defined in a matter that would have to be it, given the enormous practical and economic importance still exist that presents/displays ".>

ACT nº 5 GIJÓN (Spain)
16th December 2002

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