|Image of E.Coli Bacilli from here|
In a welcome development, the Controller General has made public the feedback that his office received in response to his call for comments on the Draft Guidelines for Examination of Biotechnology Patents. The feedback can be accessed over here on the website of the IPO. Our earlier post on the topic can be accessed over here.
Most of the replies were from mainly law firms, specializing in patent prosecution. Responses from these law firms like Anand & Anand and Remfry & Sagar indicate that these firms are clearly not happy with the guidelines proposed by the Patent Office. Other responses are from industry bodies like OPPI, ABLE, CropLife and the most important of them all – Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). Predictably, all three organizations are not very keen on the guidelines in their present form.
Of the India based biotech companies, Amrita Therapeutics did reply. An interesting bit of trivia about this company – one of its scientific advisors is Dr. Ananda Chakrabarty, is THE Chakrabarty from the landmark case of Diamond v. Chakrabarty, which was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 1980. The case held that micro-organisms altered/isolated by man, constituted patentable subject matter under S 101 of American Patent Law. The invention in the case, which was assigned to GE, was a modified bacterium which could be used break down oil and hence could be used to clean up oil spills.
Perhaps the only institution to whole-heartedly support the guidelines was the National Biological Authority constituted under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
The ball is now in the CG’s court. Will the guidelines be modified or will they be published as they stand?