Canadian Supreme Court upholds selection patents

20 November 2008

The Canadian Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to uphold selection patents earlier this month helps keep the biotechnology sector competitive as it seeks international investment during these difficult economic times, says BIOTECanada, an intervener in the case.

BIOTECanada is a national industry-funded association with over 230 member companies.

“Strong intellectual property protection is a fundamental competitive advantage in today’s global economy,” said Peter Brenders, President and CEO of BIOTECanada. “The decision to uphold the validity of selection patents will strengthen the certainty of our patent system and assist Canadian biotechnology firms in attracting international investment during these difficult times.”

Agriculture, industrial and health biotech companies, as well as inventors in other sectors of the economy, for example manufacturers, rely on selection patents to spur research into products and processes described in prior patents. Selection patents increase research by encouraging inventors, through patent protection, to study and find advantages of previously patented material.

“We are very pleased that the Supreme Court understood the position advanced by BIOTECanada, in explicitly mentioning the biotechnology industry in its decision,” said Peter Wilcox of Torys LLP, counsel for BIOTECanada on this case. “The Court recognized the importance of the patent system in providing economic encouragement for research and development in the biotechnology field.”

Canada’s biotechnology industry is composed of over 550 companies. In application, the innovative products and processes from these companies contribute to a broader bio-based economy worth 6.40% of Canada’s GDP, or $ 78.3 billion, and create 1 million Canadian jobs.
“Our industry is founded on invention and innovation,” said Brenders. “This judgement provides business certainty and will help our sector in its objectives of continuing to invest in Canada, do research here, and build a strong economy.”

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