§ Mr. Alan Clark
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action the Government intend to take on the EU Directive, Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions; and what amendments they propose in respect of its provisions on the patentability of the human body. 
§ Mr. Ian McCartney
The Government recently joined other Member States in supporting a Common Position which was reached by the Internal Market Council on 27 November 1997. The Common Position includes a provision which excludes the human body, at the various stages of its formation and development, from patentability. This provision fully reflects the views of the European Parliament, and the Government did not seek to amend the text.
The Common Position will now be sent to the European Parliament for second reading.