EU Parliament and civil society organisations oppose patents on plants and animals
In the frame of a collection campaign, around 25,000 people and 50 organisations used the opportunity to take up a position. The organisations include the development aid organisation Oxfam and the umbrella organisations of European farmers (Copa/Cogeca, IFOAM EU). At the same time, the EU Parliament has recently adopted a resolution requesting that such patents are stopped.
Indeed, European Patent Law already prohibits the patenting of conventional breeding. Nevertheless, the EPO has granted an increasing number of these patents covering broccoli and tomatoes, barley and lettuce. Even fish are patented as ‘invention’ just because they are fed with selected plants.
Already in 2017, the 38 contracting states of the EPO took the decision to stop patents on conventionally bred plants and animals. In March this year, the EPO started a procedure (G3/19) involving its highest legal decision-making body, the Enlarged Board of Appeal, to clarify whether this decision was in accordance with the rules and statutes of the European Patent Convention (EPC). The statements filed today have to be taken into account by the Enlarged Board of Appeal. It is likely that the decision will be made next year.