Munich, 28.11.2011. Today Testbiotech is publishing a “Black List” of European Patents that have already been granted. Ten examples, granted since 2009, were selected for the list in cooperation with the Initiative “No Patents on Life”. It is shown that even chimpanzees have been patented after being genetically manipulated to suffer from epilepsy so that they can be used by the pharmaceutical industry (EP1852505). Furthermore, patents were granted on human sperm cells (EP1263521), on gene sequences from patients suffering from cancer (EP1090117) as well as on genetic information stemming from top athletics (EP1546403).

Testbiotech’s opinion is that these patents show that European Patent law needs extensive revision. The ethical boundaries as well as the definition of what can be regarded as an invention have to be redefined in law: “European Patent law is a political failure. In 1998, it was changed dramatically to serve the particular interests of some companies, and patents on life were allowed without sufficiently clear prohibitions. What we now see are the consequences of those decisions. Animal experiments with great apes are becoming an issue of financial speculation. Gene sequences from humans, animals and plants are being monopolised via patent law. This is no longer about protecting of inventions. This is just exploitation of living nature,” Christoph Then says for Testbiotech.

Patents on chimpanzees, sperm cells and human genes, 11/28/11

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