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No Patents On Seeds

Background

Please find a few selected documents and articles as general background to the question of patentability of plants and animals.

Lobbying guide

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Opposition against European Patent EP 2 384 110 B1

Opposition is filed against the patent as a whole. Revocation of the whole patent and if necessary a public hearing of the opposition is requested.

Reasons for opposition:
1. The patent violates Art. 53(b) EPC, and more specifically, the prohibition on patenting essentially biological processes for breeding.
2. Further, the patent is not inventive and therefore violates Art. 52 (1) in combination with Art. 56.

Opposition against European Patent EP 2373154 B1

Opposition is filed against the patent as a whole. Revocation of the whole patent and if necessary a public hearing of the opposition is requested.

Reasons for opposition:
1. The patent violates Art. 53(b) EPC, and more specifically, the prohibition on patenting essentially biological processes for breeding.
2. Further, the patent is not inventive and therefore violates Art. 52 (1) in combination with Art. 56.

No patents on beer

Open letter: No patents on beer!

Dear Mr. Hart

We are aware that in 2016, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted three patents to the Carlsberg Group covering barley plants derived from conventional breeding, their usage in brewing as well as the beer as the end product. Two of the three patents granted by the EPO are based on random mutations in barley. The kernels from these plants are supposedly better for brewing beer (EP 2384110 and EP 2373154). The third patent (EP 2575433) is simply a combination of barley plants produced through further plant breeding. Each of these patents covers the plants, the process for brewing, malt and wort and any drinks produced by this method.

Patents on pigs, cows, oysters and salmon

Article 53b of the European Patent Convention (EPC) excludes patents on plant and animal varieties as well as on conventional breeding. However, the European Patent Office has already granted several patents on the conventional breeding of animals. In particular, in 2007/2008 several patents were granted on the breeding of pigs and cattle. The wording of the claims was directed to breeding processes, but patent law allows the scope of such patents to be extended to the animals derived thereof. Due to the fact that several civil society organisations took action and filed oppositions most of these patents have now been revoked.

Reasons for opposition against European Patent EP 1 515 600 B1

Title: FLAVONOL EXPRESSING DOMESTICATED TOMATO AND METHOD OF PRODUCTION
Application number: 03760244.8
Proprietor: Syngenta Participations AG, 4058 Basel (CH)
Date of publication and mention of the grant of the patent: 12.08.2015

Outline of opposition against European Patent EP 1 515 600 B1

Application number: 03760244.8
Proprietor: Syngenta Participations AG, 4058 Basel (CH)
Date of publication and mention of the grant of the patent: 12.08.2015
Date of opposition: 11.05.2016

Opposition is filed against the patent as a whole. Revocation of the whole patent and if necessary a public hearing of the opposition is requested.

Overview on patent applications and patents granted in Europe on conventional breeding

January 2016

This backgrounder gives a brief analysis of patent applications on conventional breeding in 2015 at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, as well as at the European Patent Office in Munich (EPO). In addition, it contains an overview of the total number of patent applications and patents granted on conventional breeding since 2000.

Patents on plants and animals – time to act for European politicians

On 25 March 2015 the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) confirmed an unacceptable interpretation of the current patent law: While processes for conventional breeding cannot be patented, plants and animals stemming from these processes are patentable. This is not only contradictory in itself, but it also undermines the prohibitions in European patent law: “Plant and animal varieties or essentially biological processes for production plants and animals” are excluded from patentability (Art 53 b, EPC).

Decision on the precedent cases of broccoli and tomato (G2 / 12 and G2 /13)

The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) decided on the precedent cases of broccoli and tomato (G2 / 12 and G2 /13). The EPO made clear that plants and animals stemming from conventional breeding can be patented. On the other hand, patent law prohibits patents on processes for breeding, such as crossing and selection. This quite illogical decision was a long awaited outcome of a precedent case upon patentability of plants and animals derived from conventional breeding.

Opposition against Monsanto patent EP2134870 on the selection of soybeans

In February 2014, the European Patent Office in Munich (EPO) granted a patent to Monsanto on screening and selecting soybean plants adapted to various climate zones (EP2134870). The plants supposedly have higher yields in different environmental conditions. The plants concerned are wild and cultivated species from Asia and Australia. According to the patent, more than 250 plants from “exotic“ species were screened for variations in climate adaption potential and variations in the period of time needed until maturity and harvesting. Monsanto has gained a monopoly with this patent on the future usage of hundreds of natural DNA sequence variations in the conventional breeding of soybeans.

European patents on plants and animals

This report illustrates how patents are on the verge of breaking through acceptable boundaries and putting our genetic resources at risk. Will our daily food soon be controlled by big corporations and the patent industry, or will our politicians make decisions to ensure that patents on plants and animals are prohibited?

To the members of the AC of the EPO

We are writing to you to express our great concerns about the EPO`s continuing practice to not only grant patents on plants and animals derived from genetic engineering, but also on those bred by conventional greeding methods.

...

President of the European Patent Office gives green light for patents on plants and animals

The European Patent Office (EPO) is once again rushing patents on plants derived from conventional breeding through the application procedure. In the coming weeks, around a dozen new patents will be granted, covering species such as broccoli, onions, melons, lettuce and cucumber. This is in strong contrast to EPO practice last year when only very few patents were granted due to a pending prece dent decision on the patentability of plants and animals (G2/12).

Letter to Enlarged Board of Appeal, RE: G2/12

We would like to forward to the Enlarged Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office an opinion drawn up by Prof Dr Dolder regarding Procedure G2/12 and would also like to make the following comments...

Procedure G 2 / 12, Comment Prof Dr Fritz Dolder, Basel

Short summary of arguments put forward by No Patents on Seeds

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Draft agreement on a Unified Patent Court and draft Statute

Critical analysis of the Draft Agreement on a Unified Patent Court

On 14 November the Council of European Union proposed a Draft Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. This agreement is part of a legal package to establish an EU Unitary Patent which aims to accelerate the granting of patents within the EU.

Seed monopolists increasingly gaining market control

A Report published by the No Patents on Seeds Coalition in March 2011

The Legal Basis

EPC and EU Biotech Patents Directive 98/44/EC

The Future of Seeds and Food

A Report published by the No Patents on Seeds Coalition in April 2009

Farm Animals and Corporate Patent Strategies

An overview by Greenpeace, Christoph Then, February 2007

Livestock genetics Companies

Concentration and Proprietory Strategies of an emerging power in the global food economy.