European Court of Justice Strikes Dutch Challenge to EU Biotechnology Patent Rules

BRUSSELS: The European Court of Justice struck down on October 9 an attempt by the Netherlands to challenge European Union legislation establishing patent rules for biotechnological inventions.

The Dutch legal bid, filed in 1998 just after the law was approved, was based on the argument that the EU directive undermines the "inalienable nature of living human matter that is a component of the fundamental right to human dignity and integrity".

However, the ECJ ruled that while it must ensure respect for fundamental rights in the application of EU law, it "considers that the directive affords sufficient protection since it does not allow the human body, at the various stages of its formation and development to be a patentable invention."

"Nor can the discovery of elements of the human body be the subject of protection," the ECJ stated in ruling C-377/98.
Source: World Intellectual Property Report