Protecting pharmaceutical and biotechnology inventions in Europe

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The focused seminar on “Protecting pharmaceutical and biotechnology inventions in Europe”, specifically organised for experts and practitioners in this field, was co-organised by the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC), the European Patent Office (EPO), the Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises (ABLE) and the Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India (CEUCCI) in Mumbai on 30 March 2017. The event was specifically designed for IP practitioners and industry experts based in Mumbai. It put a special focus on the EPO’s practice in the field of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, and on practical issues related to filing and prosecution at EPO. 

          

In his welcome address, Mr. Poul V. Jensen, EBTC Director, provided insights on how EBTC is promoting and indigenising European technologies as well as innovations to suit the local needs in India through various projects, programmes and initiatives, enabling Indo-European collaborations. Dr A. Stamatopoulos, Principal Director Biotechnology at EPO, presented a brief overview of the latest developments at the European Patent Office. ABLE’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Narayanan Suresh, shed light on the activities pursued by his association and how ABLE is addressing challenges and issues faced by companies in the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sector. ABLE is a not-for-profit pan-India organisation that represents the Indian biotechnology sector. It has over 400 members from across India representing all verticals of the sector like agribiotech, bio-pharma, industrial biotech and bioinformatics. The Director of the Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India (CEUCCI), Dr Renu Shome, deliberated on European initiatives to foster Indo-European collaboration. She highlighted that CEUCCI is an important link between European Union-Indian Businesses. CEUCCI organises events and business seminars so that businesses from both regions can interact regularly. 

The technical sessions were moderated by Mr Nicholas Körnig, International Co-operation Administrator from EPO. The seminar addressed the following topics: European Patent Office and the European patent system; the procedures at the EPO from filing to appeal; what is and what is not patentable in the fields of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology with practical examples; procedural and patentability aspects of the grant and opposition procedure at the EPO; and practical experiences in protecting pharma and biotech inventions from India in Europe. The speakers were: Dr. Dieter Tzschoppe, Director Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Klaus-Peter Döpfer, Director Biotechnology and Mr. Durgesh Mukharya, Partner, K&S Partners. 

           

The presentations were followed by a very interactive consultation with the EPO experts. In general, the participants expressed a need for more regular updates about the latest developments in the European patent system and their appreciation of the EPO’s efforts to address timeliness and costs through the “Early Certainty” initiative and the implementation of the upcoming Unitary patent system. 

           

The event was attended by more than 50 senior representatives from law firms, industry experts, as well as IP and trade counsellors from EU Embassies.

The seminar’s content and the EPO efforts have been very much appreciated by the participants and the law firms they represent. They expressed the wish to organise further seminars of this kind with a clear focus on specific domains in the future.

The seminar was organized within the framework of the EPO/EBTC co-operation programme to foster IPR co-operation between Europe and India.  

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