A ruling of the Technische Kamer van Beroep of the European Patent Office of December 5 2018, seems to have opened the door to patents on vegetables from classical cultivation. In response to parliamentary questions, Carola Schoten, minister for Landbouw, Natuur en Voedselkwaliteit , stated that she is "still of the opinion that it should not be possible to monopolize products from classical plant breeding with a patent."
Schouten indicates to wait for the written decision of the Technische Kamer van Beroep and the discussion within the European Patent Office and experts on this area within the European Commission. "The Netherlands will urge for sustainable solutions."
The ruling of the European Patent Office has, according to Schouten, no consequences for the cultivator rights or the cultivator exemption which the Netherlands has in place of the cultivator rights. "The ruling does lead to important plant properties possibly being patented, which would impair access to this property - if these would lead to the granting of patents for products of essential biological processes ."
In order to keep innovating, plant cultivation should benefit from unrestricted access to genetic sources with important properties, according to Schouten. "Therefore the Dutch effort to come up with a sustainable solution. In this way, it will be permanently impossible to patent classically cultivated plants and natural properties of plants."