The European Union assured the legal protection of innovation in the area of biotechnology with Directive 98/44/EC on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions. The Directive established harmonised standards in order to foster the innovative potential and competitiveness of science and industry in the Union. The Directive sets out which inventions involving plants, animals or the human body may or may not be patented. It requires the Member States to allow the patenting, under certain conditions, of inventions which may have an industrial application. The Commission is currently pursuing infringement proceedings against nine Member States for their failure to transpose the Directive into national law by the 30 July 2000 deadline.