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No Patents On Seeds

Stop patents on plants and animals!

The organisations behind No Patents On Seeds are especially concerned about increasing number of patents on plants, seeds and farm animals and their impact on farmers, breeders, innovation and biodiversity. These patents create new dependencies for farmers, breeders, food producers and consumers. These patents have to be regarded as misappropriation of basic resources in farm and food production and as general abuse of patent law. We call for an urgent re-think of European patent law in biotechnology and plant breeding and to support clear regulations that exclude from patentability processes for breeding, genetic material, plants and animals and food derived thereof.

“One single mutation is sufficient to patent a whole vegetable garden”

7 March 2018

The European Patent Office (EPO) is still granting controversial patents on seeds. In January 2018, the EPO granted a patent on melons with increased resistance to downy mildew (EP 2455475). This patent is based on conventional breeding: The genome was screened for specific mutations without using methods of genetic engineering. The patent holder is the Dutch company ENZA Zaden. Apparently, the patent does not involve any inventiveness: ENZA has already been granted six other patents on grapes, cucumber, soybeans, onions, tomatoes and potatoes – all of which are more or less based on the same mutations.

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Syngenta fails at the European Patent Office

17 January 2018

At a public hearing, the European Patent Office (EPO) today rejected an appeal filed by Syngenta. The company wanted the EPO to grant a patent on the breeding of higher-yield maize plants (EP2121982). At the same time, Syngenta also wanted the EPO to abolish existing restrictions in the field of plant and animal breeding that have only recently been put in place. The EPO also rejected this attempt.

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Growing opposition to patents on seeds

16 January 2018

As a new report published today by No Patents on Seeds! shows, the European Patent Office (EPO) continues to grant patents on plants derived from conventional breeding – even though the contracting states urged the enforcement of relevant prohibitions in 2017. Around 25 patents were approved last year, despite the EPO officially claiming that it no longer grants such patents. The patents cover crops such as lettuce, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumber, grapes, sunflower, sorghum and soybeans. In response, there is growing opposition to EPO practice. And for the first time, a joint letter written by COPA/COGECA, No Patents on Seeds! and organisations from the organic sector has been sent to the EU Commission. COPA/COGECA is the largest farmers’ organisation in the EU and also represents many breeders.

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