Update from the AIPLA Biotech CommitteeNovember 21, 2019

At the recent American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) conference, the AIPLA Biotechnology Committee met to discuss two biotechnology issues: 35 USC 101 legislation, and treatment of genetic resources (GR) and traditional knowledge (TK).

Bob Stoll, former Commissioner for Patents at the USPTO and member of AIPLA’s 101 taskforce, led the 101 discussion as part of the taskforce’s role to help shape policy related to fixing 101 though interacting with members of Congress. He reported the main concern coming out of Congress is that the biotech industry is not united on 101 reform. According to Mr. Stoll, no new legislation will pass unless the industry can agree on the same policy. Currently, there are some across the biotech industries that prefer the current 101 mess, including the seeming prohibition on diagnostic methods. Until there is agreement, it is not believed that any legislation will be able to pass in Congress to fix the current 101 issues.

The other issue addressed was access to and compensation for GR and TK. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has continued to attempt to facilitate negotiations between countries in order to try to prevent what occurred in Indonesia in 2007. The Committee was looking for WIPO ambassadors to attend WIPO events and discuss ways to:

  • reduce transaction costs for all countries involved;
  • provide clarity to countries and institutions seeking to develop other countries’ resources; and
  • provide compensation for countries who may not be able to develop their resources on their own.

Overall the meeting provided a good discussion on the issues, which got passionate at times, but the Committee is still looking for input from the community on these issues.

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