WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 4, 2004) - Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President Carl B. Feldbaum issued the following statement following House passage of the United States Patent and Trademark Fee Modernization Act of 2003 (H.R. 1561):
"In an industry comprised largely of small, start-up companies that have not yet brought a product to market, patents are vital in attracting the necessary investment capital to sustain biomedical research. Without quality intellectual property rights, many biotech companies would cease to exist. Passing H.R. 1561 will provide the necessary user fees to the PTO, so that it can continue to issue the strong, enforceable patents that underpin the biotech industry, which has already brought more than 180 new therapies to market.
"The number of biotechnology patent applications submitted to the PTO has increased substantially in the past decade, and at the same time, the user fee funds the PTO has generated have been diverted to support unrelated government programs. H.R. 1561 will put an end to this diversion practice and will enable the PTO to hire and train the additional examiners it needs to process patent applications."
BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. For more information, visit www.bio.org.