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Hans Sauer

Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property for the Biotechnology Industry Organization

Expert Bio

Hans Sauer is Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a major trade association representing over 1,100 biotechnology companies from the medical, agricultural, environmental and industrial sectors in the United States and 31 other countries. At BIO, Dr. Sauer advises the organization’s board of directors, amicus committee, and various staff committees on patent and other intellectual property-related matters.

Prior to taking his current position at BIO in 2006, he was Chief Patent Counsel for MGI Pharma, Inc. in Bloomington MN, and Senior Patent Counsel for Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Baltimore, MD. Hans has 18 years of in-house experience in the biotechnology industry, first as a research scientist and later as a lawyer. He worked on several drug development programs, being responsible for patent prosecution and portfolio oversight, clinical trial health information privacy, and sales and marketing legal compliance.

He did his postdoc at Genentech in South San Francisco, and holds a M.S. degree from the University of Ulm in his native Germany; a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Lund, Sweden; and a J.D. degree from Georgetown University, where he serves as adjunct professor.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: Should the USPTO allow the patenting of living organisms?

Answered By Hans Sauer - Sep 27, 2013

A: Most people associate patents with mechanical or electronic devices, new chemical substances, intricate machines or other inanimate things. The notion that patents are also available for living things may be puzzling at first. A patent is a form of property right that allows its owner a certain measure of control over how others may make, use or sell the patented invention. Surely the inventor of e.g. a new gyroscope sensor (like those used in Segway scooters) should have good reason to object if a competitor were to copy his new design and start selling it for profit. But should a horticultu [...]

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