This article attempts to disentangle the mire of European patent authority and provide some picture of how the ultimate resolution of the proposed EC Directive will appear. Part I contains introductory and background materials on the biotech industry and the importance of patent protection to the future proliferation of technological innovation. Part I exposes current issues in the scientific and political realms of biotech patent law as well as the standard justifications for recognizing inventors rights, considerations that are presently shaping the debate in Europe. Part II attempts to ground the reader in the fundamentals of biotechnology patent laws as developed in the United States in order to provide a basic conceptual foundation for comparing and evaluating the bodies of European law. This section begins by introducing the basic statutory terminology before turning to a discussion of the landmark United States Supreme Court opinion in Diamond v. Chakrabarty, where the Court held that genetically altered living matter may be patented.8 The remainder of the section traces the legal developments spawned by the Chakrabarty decision. Part III begins with an introduction of the various bodies purporting to govern patent rights in Europe and attempts to resolve the supremacy issues among them. Attention then shifts to the proposed Council Directive on biotech patents: the procedures for its adoption, the political forces shaping the debate of life patents in Europe, and the important proposals for amending the original draft. Finally, this article will speculate on the ultimate resolution of the Draft Directive as a united system of patent laws for the European Community Member States.
David G. Scalise and Daniel Nugent,
Patenting Living Matter in the European Community: Diriment of the Draft Directive,
16 Fordham Int'l L.J. 990
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol16/iss4/2