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.
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.
10 April 2017
Patents claiming wheat, flour and bread, or tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber as inventions of industry - these are just a few examples of patent applications that were filed in 2016. The patent applications were filed to cover conventional breeding without any method of genetic engineering being involved. Currently, more and more patents are being filed in Europe on the conventional breeding of plants and animals, despite EU institutions having declared that this is something they want to stop. Unless political decision-makers take action, many of them have a good chance of being granted by the European Patent Office (EPO).
6 April 2017
The No Patent on Seeds! initiative has undertaken comprehensive research into patents granted on plants by the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2016. All in all, around 170 patents on plants were granted. Another 60 patents were issued on processes for genetic engineering of plants. The overall number of European patents on plants now stands at about 3000. At the same time, there has been a constant increase in the percentage of patents granted on conventional breeding. Despite the EPO announcing at the end of 2016 that it would stop granting patents on conventional breeding, last year, around 40 patents were granted in this area. In total, the EPO has already granted around 200 patents on conventional plant breeding.