EPO Contracting States discuss next steps regarding the patentability of plants obtained by essentially biological processes

29 March 2019

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In the 159th meeting of the Administrative Council, the representatives of the 38 EPO Contracting States together with the European Patent Office discussed the need to find a solution in the short term following the decision T 1063/18.

The Contracting States expressed their concerns with regard to the legal uncertainty caused by decision T 1063/18. The President of the EPO expressed his view that  a President's  referral of the case to the Enlarged Board of Appeal is justified and necessary. The aim is to obtain an opinion from the Enlarged Board of Appeal on the patentability of plants exclusively obtained by essentially biological processes, hereby considering recent legal developments (interpretations and statements of the European Commission, the EU Council, European Parliament and EPO's Administrative Council on the interpretation of the European Patent Convention and the EU Bio-Directive, all of them concluding that there should be no patentability in these cases).

The President's proposal received  broad and overwhelming support from almost all Contracting States. President António Campinos announced that the EPO will proceed swiftly  to submit the referral.  The EPO endeavours to restore legal certainty fully and speedily in the interest of the users of the European patent system and the general public.

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