European patent proposal presents paradoxical risk for academics and biotechs

European biopharmas push back against a plan to accelerate patent examinations that could harm inventors

A proposal from the European Patent Office to streamline review of patent applications could paradoxically make it harder for life science inventors to secure the IP they need to attract investors and advance their technologies.

The program is the third leg of EPO’s Early Certainty Initiative, which was launched five years ago to address inefficiencies at all phases of patent review. The new program, dubbed Early Certainty from Examination, aims to cut the patent examination phase approximately in half, from around two years to one.

Early Certainty from Examination isn’t an attack on life science patents. Its intention is to help inventors across many industries by streamlining an inefficient process. The problem for biopharma is that life science inventors benefit from the inefficiency.

“At first glance, faster approvals is a good thing, but that’s not really the case for the biotech industry,” said Ute Kilger, patent attorney at Boehmert & Boehmert. 

“At first glance, faster approvals is a good thing, but that’s not really the case for the biotech industry.”

Ute Kilger, Boehmert & Boehmert

The difference is

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