The production of wine or beer involves processes using living organisms. It is regarded as one of the earliest biotechnology invention.
Our patent act excludes plant or animal varieties to be patentable. Biological processes for the production of plants or animals are also not patentable. However, man made living microorganisms, microbiological processes and the products of such microorganism processes could be patentable.
In genetic engineering, scientists develop biological processes to modify the genetic composition of living organisms. A microorganism created by Chakrabarty were able to break down components of oil pollution in oceans and rivers. These microorganisms was the subject of a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court, in which modified microorganisms were recognized as patentable subject matter.
Other than solving the problems of environment, genetic engineering process may also be used in the modification of microorganisms for the production of new medicines. It may also lead to new opportunities for obtaining food and energy.
The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, facilitates the processing of biotechnology inventions where protection is sought in various countries. A list of International Depository Authorities are also available.