The Patenting of Antibodies and Their Medical Uses in the EPO

Dr. Hans-Rainer Jaenichen, patent attorney, Vossius & Partner

Antibodies have become leading biotech drugs. The presentation will explain how antibodies are generated by mammalian immune systems, how they are structured and which forms are primarily used in pharmaceuticals. The scientific background has immediate implications for the patenting of antibodies, specifically in context with how they can be defined in claims and what is required to enable those that are claimed. The presentation will also cast light on how pharmaceuticals can currently be claimed in the EPO in general and on what is required for being able to claim specific medical uses. Finally the presentation will provide model cases to illustrate which practical problems may be encountered in attempting to patent different generations of antibody inventions. In this context the EPO's Technical Boards' current jurisprudence will be evaluated in detail.