Without the protection provided by patents, the amount of risk and investment necessary in research to make the advances in industry that lead to improved health care products could potentially reduce much significantly leading to less advancement in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Research and development costs for biotechnological inventions are particularly high as repetitive trials usually have to be carried out before marketing approval can be obtained for any healthcare products/ medicines developed.
From a purely Intellectual property perspective, there are some subtle differences between how biotechnological inventions are treated during an assessment of their patentability, in comparison to other IP. The basic rules of novelty and inventive step must still apply, however there are further considerations which should be satisfied before a biotechnological Invention is deemed potentially patentable, not least because many biotechnological inventions are based on natural material. For example, it is established practice that a natural substance which has been isolated for the first time and which had no previously recognized existence, does not lack novelty because it has always been present in nature. However, this then has to be reconciled with 'the law' that discoveries per se are not patentable under UK and EPO patent practice. Then there are issues of Industrial applicability and obviousness that must be considered. Thus, whether dealing with an invention for a DNA Sequence or other isolated Proteins, there are restrictions (and precedent) that inventors must steer clear of in the process of trying to obtain protection for their biotechnological inventions.
At Mancunium IP we advise on patentability of biotechnological inventions, including drafting patent specifications, undertaking patent clearance searches, patentability assessments, infringement and validity issues.