14 May 2020
Today the Enlarged Board of Appeal, the highest level of judicial authority at the European Patent Office (EPO), issued its opinion G 3/19 on questions related to the patentability of plants and animals.
The opinion, triggered by a referral from the President of the EPO in April 2019, concludes that plants and animals exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process are excluded from patentability under the European Patent Convention.
Speaking on the case, António Campinos said, ‘I strongly welcome the opinion of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. It will bring greater legal certainty for patent applicants, and the general public, on what is a sensitive and complex issue that has legal, societal and economic implications.'
The Office will act in accordance with the clarifications provided in the Enlarged Board's opinion and implement them in its examination practice in close consultation with stakeholders. Proceedings in examination and opposition which were stayed while the referral was pending will be gradually resumed.