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BIO: PROTECTING INNOVATION strong IP standards Wanted:


Without strong, predictable and enforceable patent protection, investment in biotech innovation may dry up or be limited to inventions with ‘rock solid’ patents, says Jim Greenwood of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).


countries all over the world. T e majority of biotech companies are small and medium-sized enterprises. What


B


iotechnology is a dynamic, job- creating


industry Without strong, predictable and enforceable and presents economic growth opportunities in these


companies share is a philosophy that is vital to the task of developing biotech products—a willingness to take huge risks and invest private capital in the development of new technologies that will lead to innovative products and services that improve people’s lives. For the global biotech industry to realise its


full promise, nations must ensure they have the right public policy environment. Broad international support for strong intellectual property protection will continue to play an important role in the long-term success of healthcare biotech companies and their ability to bring new drugs to patients. Stable, forward- thinking policy is also necessary to support the emergence and growth of agriculture and industrial biotech companies around the globe. T ere is a clear link between a country’s rate


of economic development and the strength of its IP laws. Biotech companies rely heavily on the strength and scope of their patents to generate the signifi cant investment necessary to bring biotech therapies and other products to market. T e importance of


international IP


protection has increased as these companies seek to expand the markets for their products that improve the health and wellbeing of people throughout the world. T e majority of biotech companies are


businesses that have no products on the market, so their research and development (R&D) activities are fi nanced through massive amounts of private sector investment—on average, more than $2 billion per new biotech medicine—which must be sustained over many years, sometimes even decades.


patent protection, investors will stop investing in biotech innovation or limit such investment to the inventions with ‘rock solid’ patents. T is decline in investment will degrade our ability to provide solutions to the most pressing medical, agricultural,


industrial and environmental challenges the world faces.


Unique challenges While the biotech industry faces some of the same challenges as other industries (including counterfeiting, compulsory licensing, patent offi ce ineffi ciencies and diff erent judicial standards for enforcement), it also faces unique challenges such as the diff ering standards for the patentability of biotech inventions, genetic resource access and benefi t regimes, and technology transfer issues. Another challenge is attracting suffi cient


investment to fi nance R&D of new products. Access to capital has become much more diffi cult for innovative early stage companies. Depressed investment in small biotech startups means that potential breakthroughs are oſt en leſt on the laboratory shelf.


“CONGRESS SHOULD TARGET NOT ONLY ABUSES COMMITTED BY PATENT OWNERS, BUT ALSO ABUSES BY THOSE WHO SEEK TO UNDERMINE THE PATENT SYSTEM FOR SIMILARLY ILLEGITIMATE REASONS.”


18 World Intellectual Property Review Annual 2015 World Intellectual Property Review November/December 2014 Our industry has developed hundreds of


innovative products that are helping to heal, feed, and fuel the world. In the healthcare sector alone, the biotech industry has developed and commercialised more than 300 biotech therapies, cures, vaccines and diagnostics that are helping more than 325 million people worldwide who are suff ering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, and many other serious diseases and conditions. Another 400 biotech medicines are in the pipeline. In the agricultural fi eld, biotech innovations


are helping the economy to grow worldwide by simultaneously increasing food supplies, conserving natural resources of land, water and nutrients, and increasing farm income. Within the fi eld of


industrial biotech,


companies are leading the way in creating conventional biofuels, and next generation advanced biofuels, which can be produced from forest residues, algae, municipal solid waste, or other renewal sources of biomass. It is essential for governments that want to


foster a robust biotech innovation environment to create a set of strong IP standards— particularly those governing data protection, patents and trade secret protection—which are relevant to biological products.


BIO meeting T e 2015 BIO international convention, taking place from June 15 to 18 in Philadelphia, in the US, will address the need for internationally consistent IP standards during the emerging opportunities in global markets forum. T is forum is specifi cally designed to highlight biotech initiatives in global markets, looking at emerging economies and global initiatives and at trends that aff ect the industry’s landscape. T e forum will provide an overview of developments in key markets, policy trends, unique collaborations


and cross-border initiatives to further innovation. www.worldipreview.com


JUNRONG / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


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