Nearly a decade after it was first proposed, the European Biotechnology Directive has finally been passed into law. The main purpose of the Directive is to provide a uniform set of legal rules that will apply to biotechnology patents throughout the 15 countries of the European Union. The authors describe how the Directive confirms that, subject to meeting the normal criteria, patents can be granted for inventions involving DNA, cell lines, microorganisms, plants, animals and human-derived material. However, on moral grounds, patents will not be allowed for certain inventions involving human cloning, germ-line gene therapy, human embryos or transgenic animals.
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