Safeguard farmers’ traditional plant breeding rights, say MEPs

A ban on the patenting of products obtained by conventional breeding techniques, such as crossing, is essential to sustain innovation, food security and small businesses, says a non-legislative resolution voted by Parliament on Thursday. MEPs, surprised by the European Patent Office decision to allow patents on such products, call on the EU Commission to clarify existing EU rules as a matter of urgency and protect plant breeders’ access to biological material.

MEPs note that plant breeding is an innovative process practised by farmers and farming communities since the birth of agriculture. They argue that access to biological plant material is vital to encourage innovation and the development of new varieties to ensure global food security, tackle climate change and to prevent monopolies. Products obtained from essentially biological processes, such as plants, seeds, native traits or genes, should therefore be excluded from patentability, they insist, in a resolution approved by 413 votes to 86 , with 28 abstentions

Parliament calls on the Commission to clarify existing EU rules – particularly the EU’s Biotech directive – as a matter of urgency and to forward this clarification to the European Parent Office (EPO), so as to ensure that products obtained by conventional breeding cannot be patented. MEPs also insist that the EU and its member states must safeguard access to and use of material obtained from essentially biological processes for plant breeding.

Get Our E-Newsletter - breaking news to your in-box twice a week
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy
Share.

About The Author