Patentability of Biotechnology: A Comparative Study with Regard to the USA, European Union, Canada and India



Modern biotechnological advances have posed new challenges before the existing patent laws of countries as biotechnological inventions differ markedly from chemical and mechanical inventions that have been the traditional subject matter of patents. With the development of human genomics and success of the Human Genome Project, the gene becomes more important because of its informational content rather than its material qualities (physical attributes). Patent is a subject primarily concerned with questions inside a jurisdiction. Although the adoption and ratification of trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) has brought a unified character to patent laws of member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to a certain extent, these countries have adopted different approaches regarding biotechnology patents in tune with their national policies. As a result, the scope and coverage of biotechnology patents vary from country to country. Even in countries having similar patent laws such as the USA and Canada, interpretations of such laws by courts vary significantly. These variations among countries are important for the proper understanding of the trends in biotech patents. Therefore, the present chapter makes a comparative study of patent laws and practices relating to biotechnology patents in the USA, Canada, European Union and India in order to collate the common issues and the differences among and between them. The USA being a pioneer in biotechnology research exerts great influence upon other countries; the European Union reflects the unified approach of different member states in a politically diversified system; Canada makes a distinction between patenting of higher life forms and lower life forms and India represents the concerns of developing countries.


Patent law Biotechnology Human gene The USA European Union Canada India Patentable subject matter Novelty Non-obviousness (inventive step) Utility (industrial applicability) Written description Ordre public and morality 


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Amity Law SchoolNoidaIndia

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