Open access to breeding material essential for innovation, food security, environment
European Patent Office urged to listen to its member states
Fruit, vegetables or animals obtained from conventional breeding processes, such as crossing, must not become patentable, MEPs said in a non-legislative resolution on Thursday.
Patent-free access to biological plant material is essential to boost innovation and competitiveness of the European plant-breeding and farming sectors, to develop new varieties, improve food security and tackle climate change, MEPs stressed in the resolution. Furthermore, access to genetic resources must not be restricted, as this could lead to a situation where a few multinational companies have a monopoly on plant breeding material, to the detriment of EU farmers and consumers, many MEPs said in Monday’s plenary debate.
Parliament called on the EU Commission to do its utmost to convince the European Patent Office (EPO) not to grant patents to products obtained from essentially biological processes. It also urged the EPO to immediately restore legal clarity on the matter, stressing that none of 38 states which signed the European Patent Convention allow conventionally bred products to be patented.