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Aigner speaks out against biological patents

DDP/The Local · 20 Jul 2010, 08:16

Published: 20 Jul 2010 08:16 GMT+02:00

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The minister has major doubts over whether the broccoli patent in question is truly an innovation for hybridisation, she told daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“I have also told the president of the EPA of my concerns,” she said.

The hearing is set to take place in Munich on Monday and Tuesday, and regards a dispute over a patent granted to Plant Biosciences Ltd. in 2002 for a method of selectively increasing the level of a potentially anti-carcinogenic substance in broccoli.

In 2003 a Swiss company filed opposition to the patent, saying it was an “essentially biological process” and therefore not patentable, according to the EPA.

As a result of this case, along with another similar appeal, the EPA decided it could not produce a decision before settling exactly how to define "essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals," which will be addressed at the hearing this week.

Aigner told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that while patents are important for the protection of intellectual property, she hoped the EPA would limit the range of patent protection for agricultural products. She added that there was a clear difference between discoveries and inventions.

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Because plants and animals are living organisms, they should be handled by the EPA with special care, she said.

“We can’t treat new cases for plants and animals like other technical cases,” she told the paper. “Creation belongs to all humanity.”

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:36 July 20, 2010 by herr_flick
You can put a patent on a broccoli ? The world's gone mad.
13:55 July 20, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
herr_flick, have you not heard what Monsanto has been doing?
17:25 July 20, 2010 by petrag
Monsanto is a monster!! That comany's behavior towards non-compliant farmers in the US is horrifying.

I buy "certified organic" whenever I can. I know it's not foolproof, but perhaps a bit safer.
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