The possibility of patenting inventions based on living organisms is a hotly debated topic, among the general public as well. An initial consultation procedure for a partial revision of the Patents Act was carried out in April 2002. Because of the very divisive responses, a second consultation was held in 2004.
There is consensus in the ECNH about the principle of protecting intellectual property, including in biotechnology. Whether patents are a suitable way of ensuring this protection, however, is considered by members of the Committee in a varying, sometimes even confrontational way.
A study commissioned by the ECNH and published as a book considers the various moral aspects of patenting genes and gene sequences:
Tel.: +41 (0)58 463 83 83
Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology ECNH
c/o Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)