Opposition filed against patent issued to Max Planck Society on genetically engineered primates

Testbiotech: The publicly funded research institution should take on a role model function
Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Testbiotech has filed an opposition against Patent EP2328918 issued to the Max Planck Society, based in Munich. This patent claims genetically engineered animals, even including primates as “inventions”. Testbiotech believes the patent constitutes an unacceptable violation of ethical boundaries. In a letter to the president of the Max Planck Society, Testbiotech is now arguing that the publicly funded German research institution should take a leading role in protecting the interests of civil society, and initiate changes to the patent of its own accord.

“Patents on genetically engineered animals create commercial incentives to increase the number of animal experiments. In many cases, the emphasis will also be on maximising profits for as long as the patent is valid,” Christoph Then says for Testbiotech, “For several years now we have seen an increasingly steep rise in the number of experiments with genetically engineered animals. Clearly, commercial interests are one reason for this development as evidenced by thousands of patent applications.”

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Goettingen filed the application at the European Patent Office in 2009, it was granted in 2015 to the Max Planck Society, which coordinates the various Max Planck Institutes. The aim of the publicly funded research institutions is defined as conducting basic research in the general interests of society. Commercial exploitation of animal experiments - the patent even names chimpanzees - is not necessary for this purpose. As Testbiotech in its letter argues, the research institutions should take the initiative to reduce the number of animal experiments, and become a leading role model for other research institutions.


Christoph Then, Tel + 49 151 54638040, info@testbiotech.org