In an official blog post published November 26, 2012, Benoît Battistelli, president of the European Patent Office, responded to criticisms of the EPO’s practices regarding the granting of patents on biotechnology inventions. See Biotechnology and Patents (Nov. 26, 2012). According to Battistelli, “despite what some people seem to think, it is not easy to get a patent.” The EPO president states that in 2011, the overall rate at which the office granted applications was only 47%. For biotechnology patents, the rate was “even more stringent,” as only 27% of applications related to biotechnology led to granted patents. Although some critics have claimed that the EPO should not grant certain biotechnology applications, Battistelli emphasized that the office confines itself to consideration of “the rules as laid down by legislators and interpreted by the courts,” specifically including the EU biotechnology directive.
The EPO president based his statement on statistics complied by the office. In addition to the rate of granted applications, the statistical report contains the following chart, which shows that biotechnology ranked number 9 out of the top 10 fields for which the EPO received applications in 2011.