In June 2016, more than 800 000 signatures have been handed over to the President of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO), Mr. Jesper Kongstad, and to the chair of the Committee on Patent Law of the EPO, Mr. Sean Dennehey. The signatures were collected in European countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Portugal and France. The petition was organised by a broad range of civil society organisations including Campact (Germany), ARCHE NOAH (Austria), Berne Declaration/Public Eye (Switzerland), Bionext (The Netherlands), WeMove (EU wide) and several organisations that are members of the international coalition of NO PATENTS ON SEEDS!.
The organisations are jointly calling for a change in the EPO rules. European patent laws prohibit patents on plant and animal varieties, and on the conventional breeding of plants and animals. But at present, the European Patent Office (EPO) is undermining these prohibitions by granting more and more patents on food plants, including vegetables, their seeds and the harvested food crops.
photo credit: Campact, Falk Heller/argum