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15.05.2020 |

Conventionally bred plants and animals are not patentable, EPO rules

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Conventionally bred plants are not patentable (Photo: CC0)

Plants and animals derived from conventional breeding are not patentable in Europe. This is the conclusion of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, the highest judicial authority at the European Patent Office (EPO), which had repeatedly come under strong criticism for granting such patents. On May 14, the board issued its long-awaited opinion G3/19, which concludes that plants and animals exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process are excluded from patentability under the European Patent Convention. However, this does not apply to patents granted before 1 July 2017 and patent applications which were filed before that date and are still pending. “I strongly welcome the opinion of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. It will bring greater legal certainty for patent applicants, and the general public, on what is a sensitive and complex issue that has legal, societal and economic implications,” said António Campinos, President of the European Patent Office. He announced that the EPO will act in accordance with the clarifications provided in the Enlarged Board’s opinion and implement them in its examination practice in close consultation with stakeholders. [+] more ...

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