26 April 2017
Tomorrow the Committee on Patent Law of the European Patent Office (EPO) will meet in Munich to discuss how to in future prohibit patents on conventionally bred plants and animals. The meeting is a reaction to a statement by the European Commission that patents should only be granted in relation to genetical engineering and not conventional breeding. This statement is also supported by the EU Member States, which have a majority among the 38 Contracting States of the EPO. Given the EPO has granted around 200 patents concerning conventionally bred plants in recent years, steps must now be taken to change its practice. However, it is unclear whether the necessary changes will really be implemented. One reason: Representatives of industry and patent lawyers are invited to join the meeting, which takes place in complete secrecy, while representatives of civil society are excluded.