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No Patents On Seeds

Patent Cases

The European Patent Office (EPO) has already granted many hundreds of patents on genetically engineered plants and animals (see statistics) and has even started to grant patents on normal, non modified plants .

However, legally speaking, there is still uncertainty on where patentability ends. Both the EPC and the EU directive 98/44/EC set limits to patentability of living organisms. Nevertheless, the EPO has repeatedly granted patents which clearly go behond these limits. Some of them have been revoked following an opposition procedure. In other cases the EPO has interpreted the laws in such a way as to undermine the limits of patentability.

Here we present the most important patents which have been disputed and which are important for the development of case law in the area of plants and animals.

» Disease resistant plants
The present invention relates to disease resistant melon plant, in particular melon plants resistant to Pseudoperonospora cubensis.
Patent to a new head form characteristic in lettuce
The company Carlsberg claims barley and beer as their invention
The company Carlsberg claims barley and beer as their invention
The company Carlsberg claims barley and beer as their invention
» Feedstuffs for aquaculture comprising stearidonic acid
The patent claims the feed, the rearing of the salmon, the salmon and fish oil derived thereof as an invention. The so-called invention is to feed specific plants to the salmon to increase the concentration of Omega-3- fatty acids in products such as fish oil.
» Patent on pepper for use as food Syngenta International AG
The European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich has granted the Swiss seed giant, Syngenta, a patent on pepper and its use “as fresh produce, as fresh cut produce, or for processing such as, for example, canning” (EP 2 166 833 B1). The patent also covers the plants, their cultivation, harvesting and seeds. The plants have been developed to produce pepper without seeds and are derived from conventional breeding using existing biodiversity. There was no genetic engineering involved in the process.
» Tomatoes with a higher content of healthy compounds SYNGENTA
A monopoly on specific tomatoes with a higher content of healthy compounds known as flavonols was granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) to the Swiss company Syngenta. The patent covers the plants, the seeds and the fruits. Patent EP1515600 describes the crossing of wild tomatoes with domesticated varieties. The plants are not genetically engineered but derived from classical breeding.
» Screening and selecting soybean plants adapted to various climate zones
Monsanto is claiming a monopoly on the usage of several hundred genetic markers listed in the patent for selection of soybean plants as their invention
» Patent granted on biodiversity
he plants supposedly have higher yields in different environmental conditions. The soybeans concerned are wild and cultivated species from Asia and Australia. Monsanto has claimed hundreds of DNA sequences representing natural genetic variations for future use in the conventional breeding of soybeans. The patent also applies to other regions such as the US, Canada, China and South Africa, although the EPO seems to have been the first to grant this scandalous patent.
» Patent on Severed Broccoli Seminis
The plants, which are supposed to make harvesting easier, are derived from conventional cross-breeding and selection. The patent covers the plants, the seeds and the “severed broccoli head”.
» Insect Resistant Plant Syngenta
A patent on pepper plants, such as chili, derived from conventional breeding. The patent covers the plants, fruits and seeds and even claims the growing and harvesting of the plants as an invention.
» Patent for breeding plants with a higher stress tolerance Bayer BioScience
The comprehensive patent will give Bayer monopoly control over important food crops.
» Patent on Melons Monsanto
» Patent on Sunflowers Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas
Opposition was rejected, only claims for process of breeding were revoked (T1854/07).
» Patent on Cows
The opposition against this patent is still under negotiation at the EPO (T1589/10)
» Patent on Pigs Newsham Choice Genetics
This patent was revoked after oppositions and public protests.
» Patent on Wrinkled Tomato State of Israel - Ministry of Agriculture
One of the precedent cases at the European Patent Office (G1/08)
» Patent on Brocoli Plant Bioscience Ltd
One of the precedent cases at the European Patent Office (G2/07)


More patents can be found here