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News Articles

Patentability of plants under the EPC: act in haste, repent at leisure?

29 November 2017

This article was first published in Volume 16, Issue 3 of Bio-science Law Review. It discusses whether the 1 July 2017 changes to EPC Rules 27 and 28 “safe” from a legal perspective. It also questions whether, if they are successful in overturning prior, judicial interpretations of Article 53(b) EPC, this will lead to harmonisation of the law in Europe.

These questions are addressed by considering not only the provisions of the EPC but also relevant EU and human rights (case) law. Taking account of the broader legal context in which the EPC operates, the article concludes that the amendments to Rules 27 and 28 are likely to be neither "safe" nor effective. It also observes that the Administrative Council of the EPO may well yet regret bowing to political pressure to take such a seemingly unsafe and/or ineffective course of action.

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