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Thor Kofoed, Seed Working Party:

"All genetic resources must remain readily available"

Copa & Cogeca urge EU Ministers for competition at their meeting on Monday to support the EU Commission recommendations and not allow patents on products which have been created via essentially biological processes.

The move comes after the Commission issued a Commission notice in November which underlined that plants that are obtained by means of “essentially biological” breeding techniques are not patentable. This recommendation goes against the practices of the European Patent Office (EPO) which has already authorized many patents using essentially biological processes like tomatoes and broccoli.

“The Commissions’ recommendation is therefore a step in the right direction”, Thor Kofoed Chairman of the Seed Working Party said. “Copa & Cogeca have constantly stressed that patent law is an inappropriate instrument for the EU agriculture sector. All genetic resources must remain readily available for farmers and breeders so that they can make progress in the breeding sector”, he added.

“But the Commission’s recommendation is not clear on excluding natural traits obtained by non-essentially biological processes from patentability. These New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) are yet to be defined and classified by the Commission. Moreover, the Commission’s recommendation is not legally binding and the EPO is an independent body. We therefore call on national governments to ensure that the EPO respects the Commission’s recommendation in order to ensure that existing plants do not fall under the scope of patent law”, Copa & Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said.

For more information:
Copa Cogeca
www.copa-cogeca.eu

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