§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville)
In response to the House of Lords Select Committee on Genetic Databases report, the Government made a commitment to carry out an investigation into the impact of current UK law and practice regarding patents for genetic sequences. I am pleased to announce that the Intellectual Property Institute (IPI) on behalf of the DTI has now completed this study.
The Government welcome the main findings of the study, which show that current UK law and practice regarding patents for genetic sequences is generally meeting the needs of those currently active in this research area. The study indicates that this is true for both public and private sectors.
In its recommendations the study identifies two key areas that could be addressed, to improve the current situation further: reducing uncertainty about the extent of the patent research exemption; and improving the public perception of the patenting of biotechnological inventions.
Work is now being undertaken to explore how best to take these two issues forward.