Letter Supporting HR 2215

Dear Senator Daschle:

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) strongly supports the Conference Agreement on the Department of Justice Authorization Act (HR 2215) and urges passage by the U.S. Senate. The House of Representatives passed the measure on September 28, 2002, by a vote of 400 to 4. Enactment of this legislation will strengthen patent protection for biotechnology companies, which rely heavily on intellectual property to obtain capital for life-saving biomedical research and development.

The Conference Agreement includes significant patent law improvements that BIO has advocated for more than two years. The patent provisions included in the Conference Agreement would: 1) provide for reauthorization of essential funding for the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO); 2) clarify prior art standards in the Patent Act; and 3) streamline the patent reexamination process at PTO.

Many of the provisions in the Conference Agreement have been pending before Congress for more than a year. Several of these important patent-related provisions have previously been passed as separate measures by both the House and Senate. Passage of the Department of Justice Authorization Act will ensure predictability in the outcome of patent validity questions and will permit the federal courts to address longstanding legal issues facing the biotechnology industry.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

We urge the Senate to pass the Conference Agreement on H.R. 2215 without delay. If you have questions, please contact Sharon Cohen, BIO's vice president for government relations, at 202-962-9200.