LYON - France will not implement Europe's biotech patents directive unless it is modified, President Jacques Chirac warned at BioVision World Life Sciences Forum here last week. While acknowledging that patents are important for industrial and economic prosperity, Chirac argued that very broad patents on the human genome may stifle innovation.

"Intellectual property remains a very effective engine of progress. But patents should limit the freedom to use a gene or a sequence of gene to the specific application or product envisaged," Chirac told the BioVision delegates.