A Commission survey on the patenting and publication by EU scientists and organisations from industry and academia involved in biotechnology and genetic engineering research, that highlights the need for support to and training of academics in the proper use of the patent system. Public research organisations can handle patent applications almost as professionally as industrial organisations and without significantly delaying the publication of results that are subject to patent applications. In contrast, among scientists who have not used the patent system yet there is the belief that patenting would considerably delay publication. The survey also points towards the needs of academics and SMEs for an effective and affordable patent system, such as proposed through the Commission proposal on a Community patent. This issue is part of the proposed strategy for the biotechnology sector which is on the agenda of the March 2002 Barcelona European Council.
Commenting on these findings Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin said: “It is quite clear that small and innovative companies as well as young researchers need European patent protection. This is particularly true for fast moving sectors such as biotechnology, where Europe has a real chance to become a world player and to create employment. The Commission has stated clearly in its strategic plan for life sciences that a level playing field is needed in patent protection in industrialised countries.”
Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein added ”This survey once again underlines the demand for cheap and easily accessible patent protection valid throughout the EU. It is therefore vital that our proposal for a Community Patent is adopted urgently”.
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