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Biopatents

EP sends strong message on need to respect European law and end patenting of life forms


The European Parliament today adopted a resolution calling on the European Patent Office and the European Commission to ensure European legislation prohibiting the patenting of plant or animal breeding is respected. Speaking after the vote, Green MEP and agriculture spokesperson Martin Häusling said:

"MEPs have today sent a clear and strong message to the European Patent Office on the need for it to respect European law and end the patenting of life forms.

"The growing number of conflicts arising from biopatents awarded has underlined that the EPO is using an overly broad interpretation of what can be patented under the EU's biopatent directive and the European Patent Convention. These allow patents on GMOs but the EPO goes far beyond this and extends patents to conventional breeding practices. European legislation prohibits the patenting of biological processes and the EPO needs to finally respect this. In the long-term, the European Patent Office also needs to be subject to legitimate democratic control and must be bound by the decisions of the European Court of Justice.

"The concentration of the gene-pool and its intellectual property in the hands of a small number of businesses is clearly not in the interest of farmers or the wider public and global food security. Strategic patents merely serve to strengthen market monopolies and hinder, rather than strengthen innovation. Breeders and farmers must retain unhindered access to genetic resources."