Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 18 October 2011.

Oliver Brüstle v Greenpeace eV.

Reference for a preliminary ruling: Bundesgerichtshof - Germany.

Directive 98/44/EC - Article 6(2)(c) - Legal protection of biotechnological inventions - Extraction of precursor cells from human embryonic stem cells - Patentability - Exclusion of ‘uses of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes’ - Concepts of ‘human embryo’ and ‘use for industrial or commercial purposes’.

Case C-34/10.


Top of the page Documents in the Case
Document Date Name of the parties Subject-matter Curia EUR-Lex
Judgment (OJ)
25/11/2011 Brüstle
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Judgment
ECLI:EU:C:2011:669
18/10/2011 Brüstle
EUR-Lex text EUR-Lex bilingual text
Judgment (Summary)
ECLI:EU:C:2011:669
18/10/2011 Brüstle
Opinion
ECLI:EU:C:2011:138
10/03/2011 Brüstle
EUR-Lex text EUR-Lex bilingual text
Application (OJ)
17/04/2010 Brüstle
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Top of the page Legal analysis of the decision or of the case

Reports of Cases

2011 I-09821

Subject-matter

Reference for a preliminary ruling – Bundesgerichtshof – Interpretation of Article 6(1) and (2)(c) of Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions (OJ 1998 L 213, p. 13) – Extraction, for the purposes of scientific research, of precursor cells from human embryonic stem cells taken from a blastocyst, which is no longer capable of developing into a human being – Exclusion from patentability of that process as ‘use of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes’? – Concept of ‘human embryos’ and ‘uses for industrial or commercial purposes’

Systematic classification scheme

1.
4 Internal policy of the European Union
  4.11 Approximation of laws
    4.11.09 Harmonised intellectual property rights
      4.11.09.02 Patents
4 Internal policy of the European Union
  4.11 Approximation of laws
    4.11.09 Harmonised intellectual property rights
      4.11.09.02 Patents
4 Internal policy of the European Union
  4.11 Approximation of laws
    4.11.09 Harmonised intellectual property rights
      4.11.09.02 Patents
4 Internal policy of the European Union
  4.11 Approximation of laws
    4.11.09 Harmonised intellectual property rights
      4.11.09.02 Patents


Citations of case-law or legislation

References in grounds of judgment

  • Decision 94/800 -N1C : paragraph 3
  • Directive 98/44 -A01 : paragraph 7
  • Directive 98/44 -A03 : paragraph 7
  • Directive 98/44 -A05 : paragraph 7
  • Directive 98/44 -A05P1 : paragraph 33
  • Directive 98/44 -A06 : paragraphs 7, 33
  • Directive 98/44 -A06P1 : paragraph 29
  • Directive 98/44 -A06P2 : paragraph 29
  • Directive 98/44 -A06P2LC : paragraphs 1, 24, 30, 34, 36, 38 - 40, 45 - 47, 50 - 53
  • Directive 98/44 -C2 : paragraph 6
  • Directive 98/44 -C3 : paragraphs 6, 27
  • Directive 98/44 -C5 : paragraphs 6, 27
  • Directive 98/44 -C6 : paragraphs 6, 27
  • Directive 98/44 -C7 : paragraphs 6, 27
  • Directive 98/44 -C14 : paragraphs 6, 43
  • Directive 98/44 -C16 : paragraphs 6, 32
  • Directive 98/44 -C17 : paragraph 6
  • Directive 98/44 -C20 : paragraph 6
  • Directive 98/44 -C21 : paragraph 6
  • Directive 98/44 -C37 : paragraph 6
  • Directive 98/44 -C38 : paragraphs 6, 33
  • Directive 98/44 -C39 : paragraph 6
  • Directive 98/44 -C42 : paragraphs 6, 45
  • Directive 98/44 -C43 : paragraph 6
  • Court of Justice - Judgment C -327/82 : paragraph 25
  • Court of Justice - Judgment C -287/98 : paragraph 25
  • Court of Justice - Judgment C -377/98 : paragraphs 27, 33
  • Court of Justice - Judgment C -336/03 : paragraph 31
  • Court of Justice - Judgment C -456/03 : paragraph 29
  • Court of Justice - Judgment C -506/06 : paragraph 30
  • Court of Justice - Judgment C -549/07 : paragraph 31
  • Court of Justice - Judgment C -5/08 : paragraph 25
  • Court of Justice - Judgment C -467/08 : paragraph 25
  • Court of Justice - Judgment C -151/09 : paragraph 31

Operative part

  • Interprets : Directive 98/44 -A06P2LC

Opinion

  • EU Treaty (Amsterdam), Article 2 : point 46
  • Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (2007), Article 1 : point 13
  • Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (2007), Article 3 : point 14
  • Decision 94/800 -A27 : point 11
  • Decision 94/800 -A27P2 : point 78
  • Decision 94/800 -N1C : point 10
  • Directive 98/44 -A01P1 : point 16
  • Directive 98/44 -A01P2 : point 16
  • Directive 98/44 -A03P1 : point 18
  • Directive 98/44 -A03P2 : point 18
  • Directive 98/44 -A05P1 : point 19
  • Directive 98/44 -A05P2 : points 19, 101
  • Directive 98/44 -A06 : points 20, 45
  • Directive 98/44 -A06P1 : point 3
  • Directive 98/44 -A06P2 : point 60
  • Directive 98/44 -A06P2LC : points 1, 2, 7, 8, 58, 108, 115
  • Directive 98/44 -C16 : point 45
  • Directive 98/44 -C42 : point 21


Dates

Date of the lodging of the application initiating proceedings

  • 21/01/2010

Date of the Opinion

  • 10/03/2011

Date of the hearing

Information not available

Date of delivery

18/10/2011


References

Publication in the Official Journal

Application: OJ C 100 from 17.04.2010, p.19

Judgment: OJ C 362 from 10.12.2011, p.5

Name of the parties

Brüstle

Notes on Academic Writings

  1. Walter, Doris: EuGH: Generalanwalt hält pluripotente Stammzellen, denen die Zerstörung eines menschlichen Embryos vorausgeht, für nicht patentierbar, Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht 2011 p.147 (DE)
  2. Laimböck, Lena ; Dederer, Hans-Georg: Der Begriff des "Embryos" im Biopatentrecht - Anmerkungen zu den Schlussanträgen von GA Yves Bot v. 10. März 2011, Rs. C-34/10 - Brüstle - Zugleich eine Kritik des Kriteriums der "Totipotenz", Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht INT 2011 p.661-667 (DE)
  3. Paton, Mark ; Denoon, Alex: The Ramifications of the Advocate General's Opinion in the Oliver Brüstle Case, European Intellectual Property Review 2011 Vol. 33 Issue 9 p.590-596 (EN)
  4. Castellaneta, Marina: Embrioni umani: con una nozione più ampia garantita uniformità di regole dell'Unione, Guida al Diritto 2011 nº 44 p.14 (IT)
  5. Castellaneta, Marina: Se c'è impianto cellulare o "partenogenesi" divieto esteso anche all'utilizzo di staminali, Guida al Diritto 2011 nº 44 p.24-26 (IT)
  6. Vatovec, Katarina: Ali je mogoče patentirati uporabo človeških zarodkov?, Pravna praksa 2011 nº 45 p.24-25 (SL)
  7. Taupitz, Jochen: Die Menschenwürde von Embryonen in der EU, Neue juristische Wochenschrift 2011 Heft 46 p. 3 (DE)
  8. Groh, Thomas: Keine Patentierbarkeit von Erfindungen unter Verwendung von embryonalen Stammzellen, Europäische Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsrecht 2011 p.910-912 (DE)
  9. Daleau, Jeanne: Pas de brevet pour la recherche sur l'embryon humain, Recueil Le Dalloz 2011 p.2596 (FR)
  10. Feldges, Joachim: Weite Auslegung des Begriffs "menschlicher Embryo", Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht 2011 p.1107-1109 (DE)
  11. Straus, Joseph: Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht INT 2011 p.1048-1050 (DE)
  12. Rozet, Sébastien: Protection des inventions biotechnologiques, Europe 2011 Décembre Comm. nº 12 p.482 (FR)
  13. Schneider, Ingrid: Das EuGH-Urteil "Brüstle versus Greenpeace" (Rs. C-34/10): Bedeutung und Implikationen für Europa, Zeitschrift für Geistiges Eigentum - Intellectual Property Journal 2011 p.475-510 (DE)
  14. Maubernard, Christophe: Définition juridique européenne de l'embryon humain, Revue des affaires européennes 2011 p.795-806 (FR)
  15. Hellstadius, Åsa: Patent på stamceller i Europa - EU-domstolen begränsar möjligheterna till kommersialisering av stamcellsforskning, Juridisk Tidskrift vid Stockholms universitet 2011-12 Nr 4 p.963-976 (SV)
  16. Chatzipanagiotou, Mathildi: Orismos tis ennoias «anthropino embryo» - ennomi prostasia ton biotechnologikon efeyreseon kai axiologisi methodon biotechnologias pou epemvainoun se biologiko yliko anthropinis proelevsis me gnomoma tin anthropini axioprepeia Dikastirio tis Evropaïkis Enosis - Ypothesis Oliver Brüstle kata Greenpeace eV (C-34/10), To Syntagma 2011 p.733-740 (EL)
  17. Machts, Felix: Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions - Patentability of extraction of Precursor Cells from Human Embryonic Stem Cells (ECJ), German Yearbook of International Law (Ed. Duncker & Humblot -Berlin) 2011 p.713-720 (EN)
  18. Taupitz, Jochen: Menschenwürde von Embryonen - europäisch-patentrechtlich betrachtet, Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht 2012 p.1-5 (DE)
  19. Sattler de Sousa e Brito, Clara: Biopatenting: "Angst" v. European Harmonization - The ECJ Decision on Stem Cell Patents, European Journal of Risk Regulation 2012 Vol. 3 nº 1 p.130-134 (EN)
  20. Somsen, H.: Brüstle: embryonale fout met grote gevolgen, Nederlands tijdschrift voor Europees recht 2012 p.33-39 (NL)
  21. Cassiers, Vincent: Arrêt "Brüstle": la portée de l'exclusion des utilisations d'embryons humains du champ de la brevetabilité et le sort des cellules souches, Journal des tribunaux / droit européen 2012 nº 185 p.13-16 (FR)
  22. Starck, Christian: Juristenzeitung 2012 p.145-147 (DE)
  23. Martial-Braz, Nathalie ; Binet, Jean-René: Exclusion de la brevetabilité des embryons à des fins de recherche scientifique, La Semaine Juridique - édition générale 2012 nº 6 p.259-262 (FR)
  24. Galloux, Jean-Christophe: L'embryon communautaire, Recueil Le Dalloz 2012 p.410-414 (FR)
  25. Carapezza Figlia, Gabriele: Tutela dell'embrione e divieto di brevettabilità: un caso di assiologia dirimente nell'ermeneutica della Corte di giustizia, Il Diritto di Famiglia e delle Persone 2012 p.20-38 (IT)
  26. Burke, Shane: Interpretive Clarification of the Concept of "Human Embryo" in the Context of the Biotechnology Directive and the Implications for Patentability: Brüstle v Greenpeace eV (C-34/10), European Intellectual Property Review 2012 p.346-350 (EN)
  27. García de Pablos, Jesús-Félix: La patentabilidad de las investigaciones biotecnológicas a la luz de la jurisprudencia comunitaria, Gaceta Jurídica de la C.E. y de la Competencia - Boletín 2012 nº 26 p.27-37 (ES)
  28. Van Gardingen, M.G.R.: Verkrijging van voorlopercellen uit menselijke embryonale stamcellen, Berichten industriële eigendom 2012 p.71-73 (NL)
  29. Kamperman Sanders, Anselm: Moraliteit uit de embryonale Fase?, Intellectuele eigendom & Reclamerecht 2012 p.1-4 (NL)
  30. Pünkösty, András: Az Európai Bíróság ítélete az emberi embrió fogalmáról és védelméről. - A biotechnológiai találmányok szabadalmazhatóságának kritériuma (C-34/10, Oliver Brüstle / Greenpeace eV.), Jogesetek Magyarázata 2012 nº 1 p.101-106 (HU)
  31. Romano, Rosaria: La brevettabilità delle cellule staminali embrionali umane, La nuova giurisprudenza civile commentata 2012 II p.237-249 (IT)
  32. Violini, Lorenza: Il divieto di brevettabilità di parti del corpo umano: un uso specifico e non inutile del concetto di dignità umana, Quaderni costituzionali 2012 p.145-149 (IT)
  33. Spranger, Tade Matthias: Common Market Law Review 2012 p.1197-1209 (EN)
  34. O'Sullivan, Ella: Brüstle v Greenpeace: An Inventive Interpretation of Human Embryo in the CJEU, Irish Law Times and Solicitors' Journal 2012 p.161-166 (EN)
  35. Colangelo, Giuseppe: La tutela delle invenzioni biotecnologiche in Europa e negli Stati Uniti alla luce dei casi Brüstle e Myriad Genetics, Giurisprudenza commerciale 2012 II p.35-47 (IT)
  36. Capasso, Olga: La sentenza della Corte di giustizia dell'Unione Europea sulla brevettabilità di cellule staminali derivate da embrioni umani, Rivista di diritto industriale 2012 II p.258-263 (IT)
  37. Rossolini, Renzo: La tutela dell'embrione umano nelle invenzioni biotecnologiche alla luce della sentenza della Corte di giustizia nel caso Brüstle, Rivista di diritto industriale 2012 I p.133-153 (IT)
  38. Romandini, Roberto: La sentenza Brüstle sulla tutelabilità delle cellule staminali embrionali: implicazioni pratiche e giuridiche, Rivista di diritto industriale 2012 II p.336-350 (IT)
  39. Van Beers, Britta: Het Europese Hof van Justitie over de vermarkting van menselijke embryo's. Van economische naar ook bio-etische integratie binnen de EU?, Nederlands tijdschrift voor de mensenrechten ; NJCM bulletin 2012 p.251-256 (NL)
  40. Dederer, Hans-Georg: Human-embryonale Stammzellforschung vor dem Aus? - Anmerkung zum Urteil des EuGH v. 18.10.2011, Rs. C-34/10, Europarecht 2012 p.336-343 (DE)
  41. De Pasquale, Patrizia: Sull'utilizazione di embrioni umani a fini industriali o commerciali, Diritto pubblico comparato ed europeo 2012 p.216-220 (IT)
  42. Spadaro, Antonino: La sentenza Brüstle sugli embrioni: molti pregi e...altrettanti difetti (in dialogo con Lorenza Violini), Quaderni costituzionali 2012 p.438-441 (IT)
  43. Vezzani, Simone: Invenzioni biotecnologiche e tutela dell'ordine pubblico e della morale nel diritto europeo dei brevetti: Il caso Brüstle, Diritti umani e diritto internazionale 2012 p.447-453 (IT)
  44. Hennette-Vauchez, Stéphanie: L'embryon de l'Union, Revue trimestrielle de droit européen 2012 p.355-368 (FR)
  45. Noiville, Christine ; Brunet, Laurence: Brevetabilité des cellules souches embryonnaires humaines: quand la réalité technico-économique est rattrapée (non sans ambiguîtés) par l'éthique, Revue des contrats 2012 p.593-605 (FR)
  46. Sarapuu-Piirman, Margit: Tüvirakkudega seotud leiutiste patentimise küsimusi, Juridica: Tartu Ülikooli õigusteaduskonna ajakiri 2012 nº VII p.557-564 (ET)
  47. Schuster, Martina Ines: The Court of Justice of the European Union's Ruling on the Patentability of Human Embryonic Stem-Cell-Related Inventions (Case C-34/10), International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law 2012 p.626-640 (EN)
  48. Stazi, Paolo: La sentenza Brüstle e la brevettabilità di invenzioni implicanti l'utilizzo di cellule staminali embrionali umane, Diritto comunitario e degli scambi internazionali 2012 p.485-493 (IT)
  49. Huygens, A. ; Panis, S.: S.E.W. ; Sociaal-economische wetgeving 2012 p.517-520 (NL)
  50. Ionescu, Bucura: Curtea de Justiție a Uniunii Europene. Hotărârea Curţii de Justiţie Europene din 18 octombrie 2011, cauza nr. C-34/10, Revista Romana de Dreptul Proprietatii Intelectuale 2012 p.290-308 (RO)
  51. García San José, Daniel: Derecho de la Unión, investigación embrionaria humana y patentes biológicas, Revista de Derecho Comunitario Europeo 2012 nº 41 p.161-180 (ES)
  52. Nuevo López, Pablo: TJUE - Sentencia de 18.10.2011 (Gran Sala), Oliver Brüstle / Greenpeace eV., C-34/10 - "Directiva 98/44/CE sobre protección jurídica de las invenciones biotecnológicas - Obtención de células progenitoras a partir de células madre embrionarias humanas - Patentabilidad" - ¿Primer paso hacia un estatuto jurídico comunitario del embrión humano?, Revista de Derecho Comunitario Europeo 2012 nº 42 p.593-605 (ES)
  53. Rossi, Emanuele: Rasgos constitucionales de la protección del embrión - Una introducción, Estudios de Deusto 2012 nº 60/1 p.307-325 (ES)
  54. Nuevo López, Pablo: Dignidad humana y patentabilidad de invenciones biomédicas, Estudios de Deusto 2012 nº 60/1 p.327-355 (ES)
  55. Harman, Shawn H.E. ; Laurie, Graeme ; Courtney, Aidan: Dignity, Plurality and Patentability: The Unfinished Story of Brüstle v Greenpeace, European Law Review 2013 p.92-106 (EN)
  56. Batista, Pedro Henrique D.: Zur Patentierung menschlicher embryonaler Stammzellen - kritische Würdigung der Entscheidung des EuGH im Fall Brüstle, Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht INT 2013 p.514-524 (DE)
  57. Marini, Luca: Brevetto biotecnologico e cellule staminali nel diritto comunitario, Giurisprudenza commerciale 2013 p.586-610 (IT)
  58. Penasa, Simone: Opening the Pandora box: la Corte di giustizia nuovamente di fronte alla definizione di "embrione umano", Quaderni costituzionali 2013 p.653-656 (IT)
  59. Taupitz, Jochen: Menschenwürde von Embryonen: Das Patentrecht als Instrument der Fortentwicklung europäischen Primärrechts?, Mensch und Recht - Festschrift für Eibe Riedel zum 70. Geburtstag (Ed. Duncker & Humblot - Berlin) 2013 p.505-519 (DE)
  60. Hieger, Barbara: Patente auf Zellen aus menschlichen Eizellen?, Ecolex 2014 p.161 (DE)
  61. Sattler de Sousa e Brito, Clara ; Hitchcock, Julian: Should Patents Determine When Life Begins?, European Intellectual Property Review 2014 p.390-398 (EN)
  62. Brownsword, Roger: Regulatory Coherence—A European Challenge, Varieties of European Economic Law and Regulation (Ed. Springer - Heidelberg) 2014 p.235-258 (EN)
  63. Ribbons, Duncan ; Lynch, Maeve: The European Court of Justice Refines the Meaning of 'Human Embryo' , Bio-science law review 2015 Vol. 14 nº 3 p.102-106 (EN)
  64. Hrabar, Dubravka: Pravo na pobačaj – pravne i nepravne dvojbe, Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu 2015 n° 6 p.791-831 (HR)
  65. Киркорян-Цонкова, Офелия: Понятието "човешки ембрион" за целите на биотехнологичните изобретения, Общество и право 2015 n° 1 p.50-62 (BG)
  66. Mansnérus, Juli ; Jansson, Tom: Patentering av stamcellsuppfinningar efter Brüstle mot Greenpeace, Tidskrift Utgiven av Juridiska föreningen i Finland 2015 Vol. 1 p.56-82 (SV)
  67. Faeh, Andrea: Judicial Activism, the Biotech Directive and Its Institutional Implications: Is the Court Acting as a Legislator or a Court when Defining the "Human Embryo"?, European Current Law 2016 nº 1 p. 1-13 (EN)
  68. Pohar, Klemen: Privolitev za patentiranje človeškega biološkega materiala, Podjetje in delo 2016 nº 2 p.319-339 (SL)



Procedural Analysis Information

Source of the question referred for a preliminary ruling

Bundesgerichtshof - Germany

Subject-matter

  • Approximation of laws
  • Intellectual, industrial and commercial property
  • - Patents

Procedure and result

  • Reference for a preliminary ruling

Formation of the Court

grande chambre (Cour)

Judge-Rapporteur

Safjan

Advocate General

Bot

Language(s) of the Case

  • German

Language(s) of the Opinion

  • French