The European Commission clarifies the intention of the legislator around the patent issue on plants and animals

Press Release 

Brussels, November 4th, 2016

The European Coordination Via Campesina welcomes the opposition of the European Commission to patents on plants and animals obtained by essentially biological processes of selection. In a notice published on November 3rd  “on certain articles of Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions”[1], the Commission concluded in fact that the recent decisions of the European Patent Office (EPO) to grant such brevets[2] are contrary to the intention of the European legislator.

The Commission also notes that since the adoption of the Directive, significant technological progress, the way of the patenting of plants and animals has changed. The new GM techniques that now allow patenting of living organisms’ native characters, could not be considered by the legislature in 1998. That is why the Commission calls for commitment on “further reflection” on the new “legal uncertainty”.

Certainly, the 35 countries that govern the EPO are not all subject to the decisions of the European Union. Only 28 of them, who are members of the EU, are now on the offensive against the intention of the European legislator since they are not yet opposing these patents.

The European Coordination Via Campesina calls those EU countries to rapidly put the text of their national legislations and European directives in line with the legislator intent. The EPO, where they are the broad majority, will be forced to take note of and to prohibit that any patent protection extends to “native” plant and animal characters.


Guy Kastler (Fr): +33603945721

ECVC Office (En, Fr, Es, It): +3222173112



[2] Decision G2-13- “tomato” of March 25th 2015 by the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal