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BIO To File Court Papers In Support Of Plant Patents

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The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) said today it will support Pioneer HiBred International Inc. in efforts to protect the validity of patents for genetically modified plants.</p>

Washington, D.C. (March 3, 1999) --- The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) said today it will support Pioneer HiBred International Inc. in efforts to protect the validity of patents for genetically modified plants.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is expected to rule later this year in a case involving Pioneer HiBred and Farm Advantage, a farm supply company, which is contesting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's long-established practice of granting patents on modified plants.

Dave Schmickel, BIO's patent and legal counsel, said, "Although the legal theory challenging the patents seems to have little merit, this case does provide an opportunity for the court to reaffirm the importance of patents to the agricultural sector."

BIO will file an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, brief in support of patenting genetically modified plants. The Court of Appeals is expected to issue a decision in the case this fall.

BIO represents more than 840 biotechnology companies, academic institutions and state biotechnology centers in 47 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in research and development of health care, agricultural and environmental biotechnology products.