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.
22 December 2014 / Munich.
Patent EP1812575 held by the US company Monsanto has been revoked by the European Patent Office (EPO) after the international coalition No Patents on Seeds! filed an opposition in May 2014. A further opposition was filed by Nunhems / Bayer CropScience. In November 2014, Monsanto requested that the patent be revoked in its entirety and the EPO complied with this request. The patent covered conventionally bred tomatoes with a natural resistance to a fungal disease called botrytis, which were claimed as an invention. The original tomatoes used for this patent were accessed via the international gene bank in Gatersleben, Germany, and it was already known that these plants had the desired resistance. Monsanto produced a cleverly worded patent in order to create the impression that genetic engineering had been used to produce the tomatoes and to make it look 'inventive'.
2 December 2014
Members of the coalition of No Patents on Seeds! have filed an opposition against a European patent held by the US company Monsanto. They are accusing Monsanto of biopracy. The patent EP2134870 was granted in February 2014 by the European Patent Office (EPO) and covers selecting soybean plants adapted to various climate zones for further breeding. For the patent, Monsanto screened more than 250 plants from “exotic” species closely related to the soybean. They were screened specifically for their genetic diversity regarding climate adaptation and the period of time needed to maturity and harvest. The plants were taken from both wild and cultivated species in Asia and Australia. In the patent Monsanto claims the usage of hundreds of DNA sequences originating from natural genetic diversity. Further, the patent also applies to other regions such as the US, Canada, China and South Africa. While the EPO has been first to grant the patent, is was issued in the US in September 2014.
23 October 2014 Munich
The international coalition of No Patents on Seeds! today published a report on patents on seeds. The report was prompted by the fact that the European Patent Office (EPO) has already granted several thousand patents on plants and seeds, with a steadily increasing number of patents on plants and seeds derived from conventional breeding. Around 2400 patents on plants and 1400 patents on animals have been granted in Europe since the 1980s. More than 7500 patent applications for plants and around 5000 patents for animals are pending. Amongst others, the EPO has already granted more than 120 patents on conventional breeding and about 1000 such patent applications are pending. The scope of many of the patents is extremely broad and very often covers the whole food chain from production to consumption.