195,621 of 250,000 signatures

To the European Patent Office

Petition

We demand that the European Patent Office (EPO) takes urgent action to protect the common good by stopping patent monopolies on seeds. As a result, they must close all loopholes in current patent law that allow companies to create monopolies on the use of our fruits, vegetables and seeds. Until they do this, there has to be a moratorium on patent applications for conventionally bred plants and animals!

Why is this important?

Patents create monopolies: fruits, vegetables and seeds claimed in patents cannot be used by other farmers for further breeding without the permission of the patent holder. This means that a handful of large corporations get far-reaching control over our daily food production - they will decide what we eat, what farmers produce, what retailers sell and how much we all have to pay for it.

No one should be able to own the exclusive right to grow and sell fruits, vegetables or seeds. It sounds obvious but this is what we fought for more than four years to prevent. And we won. Last year, the European Patent Office (EPO) officially accepted that conventionally bred plants are not patentable. [1]

But companies like Bayer-Monsanto, DowDupont, Heineken and Carlsberg have found ways to undo that win by finding legal loopholes to register new patents on melons, basil or barley. [2]

What they are doing is pretty sneaky: it’s called ‘technical topping’ and it’s a way to exploit the loopholes introduced by the European Patent Office. [3] While patents on conventionally bred plants are prohibited, patents on breeding by means of genetic engineering, including new methods such as genome editing can be patented. [4]

Now companies can try to blur the distinction between conventional breeding and genetic engineering. In practice, this means that seeds to make beer, basil or melons can still be claimed as an invention.

We already got the EPO to listen to us through a huge petition, filing thousands of complaints against a patent on tomatoes, and a protest in Munich at the Oktoberfest beer festival. [5]

As the EPO meets next week, it’s time to remind them that we’re still here and we won’t allow them to cancel our win. Right before they meet, our partners will dress up as screaming vegetables (see photo below) in front of EPO’s office in Munich and hand over our signatures.


References:

  1. https://www.epo.org/law-practice/case-law-appeals/communications/2020/20200514.html
    https://www.sdhsprogram.org/european-patent-office-plants-animals-obtained-classical-breeding-not-patentable/
  2. https://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/sites/default/files/news/No%20patents%20on%20seeds%20-%20Overview%202018-2019_1.pdf
  3. https://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/en/news/G3-19
  4. https://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/en/news/report2020
  5. https://www.wemove.eu/big-win-patents

In partnership with:

Please can you chip in?

We have been fighting against patenting nature since 2016. Thanks to thousands of donations, 65,000 complaints filed to the European Patent Office, and delivering our demands in horse-drawn carriages, we won.

But companies like Bayer-Monsanto and DowDupont are trying to undo our win. So again, we need to keep up the pressure. Will you donate towards a small fighting fund to make sure our win isn’t canceled?

Would you like to make a donation in British pounds (GBP)? You can do it here.

Man in traditional German clothes hands out No Patents flyers

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