A key change has recently been implemented under European Patent Law in order to exclude from patentability, plants and animals “exclusively” obtained by essentially biological processes.
Under the European Patent Convention plants and animals are patentable as long as they are not confined to a particular plant or animal variety. However, newly implemented rules (Rules 27 and 28 of the Implementing Regulations to the Convention on the Grant of European Patents) exclude from patent eligibility plants and animals which are obtained solely by essentially biological processes.
The EPO stayed all proceedings before the examining and opposition divisions in respect of cases relating to plants or animals obtained by essentially biological processes on 24 November 2016 following a notification from the EC confirming that the legislator’s intention was to exclude from patentability products obtained by essentially biological processes. The stay has been released as of 01 July 2017 in view of the new rules.
An update for this article is now available: