Together we can protect the future of European plant breeding!

No patents

Send an email to the EU Commission now and ask them to take action against patents on seeds! (click on the link)

The past decade has seen a growing number of patents granted on conventionally-bred plants, such as broccoli, tomatoes, melon, spinach, lettuce, maize, wheat and barley. Patents, often owned by international companies, already concern more than 1.000 conventionally bred European plant varieties. These patents violate European patent law and put traditional breeders’ freedom to operate at risk.  Loopholes in the legal texts finally need to be closed!

What is the problem?

Patents granted on genes, seeds and food represent one of the biggest risks to global food security and regional food sovereignty. These patents can block the use of biodiversity for further breeding. Up until now, breeders have had free access to conventionally-bred varieties to breed improved varieties. This freedom to operate in traditional breeding, which is also the basis for biodiversity in the fields, could very soon no longer exist.

Unless these developments are stopped, traditional breeders will be risking patent infringement if they use existing varieties or native populations for breeding. Consequently, many breeders will either have to stop breeding, or will become dependent on bigger companies through having to take out licence contracts with patent holders.

All of the above will also have consequences for the Global South, where many countries – under the pressure of the Global North - have adopted legislation to allow patents on seeds. Besides threatening food sovereignty in these countries, this would also be harmful to traditional regional production, propagation and seed exchange.

What needs to be done?

We want to safeguard ‘freedom to operate’ for all European breeders, market gardeners and farmers involved in the conventional breeding, growing and propagation of food plants and farm animals. Access to biological diversity needed for conventional breeding as a response to climate change and loss of biodiversity must not be controlled, hampered or blocked by patents.

Consequently, patents on breeding processes, including crossing or selection and the use of naturally occurring or randomly generated genetic variations, must be prohibited. Any extension of patents on genetically engineered plants and animals to conventionally-bred varieties must also be prohibited.

The correct interpretation of patent law should be implemented as soon as possible by the Contracting States of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO). The EU should take the lead. In addition, governments should also adopt the correct interpretation of patent laws into their national legislation.

Take action now!

Together we can protect food sovereignty and access to seeds in Europe, raise awareness of the risks associated with patents on seeds as well as mobilise political decision-makers to find solutions.

Send an email to the EU Commission now and ask them to take action against patents on seeds! (click on the link)

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Aquí encuentra más info en español en la página de la editorial Bio Eco Actual.