Dr Sönke Holtorf was appointed to director in biotechnology at the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2012. Sönke is a former examiner with 15 year's experience in the field of plant genetic engineering. To this level of expertise, should be added his PhD and post-doctoral studies, both in the field of plant biology. Sönke's directorate, which is located in The Hague, specialises in examination of patent applications concerning protein based analysis, gene therapy and transgenic animals. Patents in the last mentioned fields are sometimes debated by various groups who contest them from an ethical point of view. To mitigate such concerns and to help find a concensus, Sönke is engaging in discussions with European patent attorneys on the EPI biotech committee.