Brussels, 06 March 2002
Luxembourg's Parliament has called on the European Commission to renegotiate Directive 98/44 on the protection of biotechnology inventions in view of 'ambiguities regarding the patentability of living matter.'
The parliamentary request follows over a year of discussions in the Parliament's ethics committee after members believed they had identified 'ambiguities and even contradictions' regarding the patentability of living matter already existing in the natural state and that of inventions.
Concern relates to Article 5 of the Directive, which deals with the patentability of parts of the human body, and the precise scope of the Article, which could be interpreted as providing protection for inventions concerning elements drawn from the human body.
Other concerns voiced by Luxembourg's MPs include the impact of the Directive on patients and the danger of natural genetic riches being monopolised by a few large trans-national enterprises. The MPs are hoping that this request will encourage other Member State Parliaments to follow their lead.