Carlsberg claims barley and beer as its invention
17 November 2016 / In 2016, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted three patents to the Danish brewery, Carlsberg. The patents cover barley plants derived from conventional breeding, their usage in brewing as well as the beer brewed thereof. In a joint letter, several civil society organisations are now calling on Carlsberg to drop these patents. They consider the patents to be an abuse of patent law and in conflict with the interests of consumers.
“There should be no patents on beer and barley. Breeding plants and brewing beer are not inventions, but based on centuries-old tradition,” says Erling Frederiksen from Friends of the Earth in Denmark (NOAH). “Carlsberg should make it clear that they just want to produce good beer and are not acting against the interests of citizens and consumers. We do not want corporate control of our food or patent monopolies. No matter whether they are held by Monsanto, Bayer or Carlsberg.”
La coalizione internazionale No Patent on Seeds della quale RSR è tra i promotori
lancia una denuncia collettiva contro il brevetto su pomodoro (ottenuto con "processo di miglioramento sostanzialmente biologico") rilasciato dall'Ufficio Europeo Brevetti (European Patent Office - EPO) a Syngenta.
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Mobilisation for start of mass opposition against patent on tomatoes
European-wide coalition increases pressure on politicians and the European Patent Office
12 April 2016 / This week, a European-wide coalition is starting a mass opposition against a patent held by the Swiss company Syngenta on tomatoes produced by conventional breeding. We will be mobilising thousands of people within the time period of the opposition lasting until 12 May. The organisations taking part in this action will also be raising the pressure on European politicians to take measures against patents on plants and animals.
In 2015, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted patent EP 1515600 to Syngenta, which claims tomatoes with a high content of so-called flavonols. These compounds are supposedly beneficial to health. The patent covers the plants, the seeds and the fruits. This so-called “invention”, however, is simply a product of crossing tomatoes from the countries of origin (Latin America) with varieties currently grown in the industrialised countries. Furthermore European Patent Law prohibits patents on plant varieties and on conventional breeding. All in all, around 1400 patent application on conventional breeding were filed at the EPO so far and around 180 patents are granted already.
“We hope that as many people as possible will support our opposition and help us to put pressure on the politicians to end patents on plants and animals. The big corporations are abusing the patent system in order to take control of food production,” says Christoph Then for No Patents on Seeds! “We have to stop them now.”
The opposition is being organised by members of the international coalition of No Patents on Seeds! such as Arche Noah in Austria and Berne Declaration in Switzerland. In Germany, Campact is amongst the organisers, and the EU-wide organisation WeMove is also taking part.
The result of the mass opposition will be presented to the EPO on 12 May. On the same day, the Committee on Patent Law will be holding a meeting. This Committee includes delegates from member states of the European Patent Organisation. At the meeting, the Committee will discuss the implementation of current prohibitions in patent law, which exclude patents on plant and animal varieties and conventional breeding. Currently, these prohibitions are applied by the EPO in a way that renders them ineffective. The organisations behind the mass opposition are demanding that the member states of the European Patent Organisation now take decisive action to stop further patents on plants and animals. The Administrative Council, which can make decisions on rules of implementation of the prohibitions will have its next meeting end of June.
European Patent Office upholds patents on broccoli and tomato
Patents on plants and animals derived from conventional breeding can also be granted in future
Munich 27 March, 2015 The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) decided on the precedent cases of broccoli and tomato (G2 / 12 and G2 /13). The EPO made clear that plants and animals stemming from conventional breeding can be patented. On the other hand, patent law prohibits patents on processes for breeding, such as crossing and selection. This quite illogical decision was a long awaited outcome of a precedent case upon patentability of plants and animals derived from conventional breeding. The coalition of No Patents on Seeds! heavily criticises this decision. The organisations are warning about the increasing monopolization of breeding of plants and animals needed for food production.
“The EPO has paved the way for companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta and others to take control over those resources we all need for our daily living. We call upon European governments to put political pressure on the EPO to change its practice”, says Christoph Then for No Patents on Seeds! “No company should hold monopolies on sunlight, air or water. The same is true for the resources needed for food production.”
While the European Parliament as well as a few governments such as Germany, France and The Netherlands are apparently aware of the problem and taking some measures, the EU Commission and most Member States of the EPO remain mostly inactive. The coalition of No Patents on Seeds! now calls for immediate political action: “We now need a clear reaction from politicians. The current situation cannot be solved by just doing nothing”, Christoph Then says for No Patents on Seeds!
There are several possibilities to overcome the current decision: One possibility is for European governments to take the initiative at the Administrative Council of the EPO, which can change the interpretation of current patent law by amending the Implementation Regulation of the EPO. This could be done in the short-term. Another possibility is that EU Commission issues a legally binding interpretation of existing law that stops the further granting of patents on plants and animals from conventional breeding within the EU. In the mid-term a change in the European Patent Directive, to prohibit patents on plants and animals in general, is regarded as decisive.
The organisations behind the coalition of No Patents on Seeds! are concerned that patents on plant and animal breeding will foster further market concentration, erode small breeding companies, making farmers and other stakeholders of the food supply chain even more dependent on just a few big international companies and ultimately reduce consumer choice. The coalition of No Patents on Seeds! is organised by Bionext (Netherlands), The Berne Declaration (Switzerland), GeneWatch (UK), Greenpeace, Misereor (Germany), Development Fund (Norway), No Patents on Life (Germany), Red de Semillas (Spain), Rete Semi Rurali (Italy), Reseau Semences Paysannes (France) and Swissaid (Switzerland). They are calling for a revision of European Patent Law to exclude breeding material, plants and animals and food derived thereof from patentability. The coalition is supported by several hundred other organisations.
L’ufficio Europeo Brevetti (EPO) conferma il brevetto su broccoli e pomodori
In futuro potranno essere ammessi anche brevetti su piante e animali derivati da miglioramento genetico convenzionale
Monaco, 27 Marzo 2015: Il Consiglio di Appello Allargato dell’Ufficio Europeo Brevetti (EPO) ha deciso sui precedenti casi riguardanti broccoli e pomodori (G2/12 and G2/13). L’ EPO ha chiarito che piante ed animali derivanti da miglioramento genetico convenzionale possono essere brevettate. Per contro, la legge sui brevetti proibisce il brevetto sui processi di miglioramento quali la ricombinazione e la selezione. Questa decisione piuttosto illogica è l’esito atteso a lungo di un precedente caso riguardante la brevettabilità di piante ed animali derivanti da miglioramento convenzionale.
22 dicembre 2014 - Monaco - A seguito dell'opposizione legale avviata dalla coalizione internazionale No Patent on Seeds nel maggio 2014, il brevetto EP1812575 rilasciato a Monsanto è staot revocato con la motivazione di presunta "frode e abuso della legislazione sui brevetti".
Il brevetto riguardava una varietà convenzionale di pomodoro che presenta una naturale resistenza a botrytis.
Segue il comunicato stampa di No Patent on Seeds.
After opposition: Monsanto´s patent on tomatoes revoked
Monsanto alleged of “fraud and abuse of patent law”
22.12.2014 / Munich. Patent EP1812575 of US company Monsanto was revoked by the European Patent Office (EPO) after representatives of the international coalition No Patents on Seeds! filed an opposition in May 2014. Another opposition was filed by company of Nunhems / Bayer CropScience. In November 2014 Monsanto withdrew the patent and thus the EPO declared the patent to be revoked. The patent claimed conventionally bred tomatoes as with a natural resistance to a fungal disease called botrytis as an invention. The original tomatoes used for this patent were accessed via the international gene bank in Gatersleben, Germany. 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'.
“The revokation of this patent is an important success. Its was more or less based on a combination of fraud, abuse of patent law and biopiracy. This patent was suited to monopolise important genetic ressources”, says Christopher Then coordinator of No Patent on Seeds. “Now breeders, growers and consumers in future might benefit from a diversity of tomatoes being improved by further breeding. The intended resistance is based on complex genetic conditions, not known in detail. Thus genetic engineering is not an option in this case.”
More than hundred patents were granted already by the EPO on conventional breeding of plants, despite “essentially biological processes for the production of plants and animals” and “plant varieties” are excluded from patentability. Furthermore, the EPO granted around 2400 patents on genetically engineered plants. Many patents in this field are owned by Monsanto which already controls around 25 percent of the international seed market. The coalition of No Patents on seeds has filed further oppositions against patents of the US company, covering broccoli which can be harvested mechanically (EP 1597965), melons that are resistant to plant viruses (EP1962578) and selection of plants for breeding of soybeans (EP 2134870) adapted to climate change.
As a recently published report from “No Patents on Seeds!” shows, the EPO is granting more and more patents in this field, intentionally undermining existing prohibitions. The coalition calls on the European governments to take the EPO under political control to ensure a correct interpretation of patent law that renders its prohibitions effective. Furthermore, No Patents on Seeds! is calling for a revision of European Patent Law to exclude breeding material, plants and animals and food derived thereof from patentability.
The organisations behind the coalition of No Patents on Seeds! are concerned that patents on plant and animal breeding will foster further market concentration, making farmers and other stakeholders of the food supply chain even more dependent on just a few big international companies and ultimately reduce consumer choice. The coalition of No Patents on Seeds! is organised by Bionext (Netherlands), The Berne Declaration (Switzerland), GeneWatch (UK), Greenpeace, Misereor (Germany), Development Fund (Norway), No Patents on Life (Germany), Red de Semillas (Spain), Rete Semi Rurali (Italy), Reseau Semences Paysannes (France) and Swissaid (Switzerland). They are calling for a revision of European Patent Law to exclude breeding material, plants and animals and food derived thereof from patentability. The coalition is supported by several hundred other organisations.
Report of No Patents on Seeds:
Text of the opposition and the patent:
www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/de/info ... r-botrytis
For more information: www.no-patents-on-seeds.org