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Joint statement on patents and new GMOs : Don’t risk the future of our seeds!

15 November 2023

Ahead of the meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 20-21 november, ECVC has sent, along with 8 organisations including seed-savers, GMO-free industry and environmental NGOs, a statement to EU agriculture ministers, alerting them on the patents that cover all new genomic techniques (new GMOs).

New GMOs are currently at the center of the debate of the Agriculture Council following the publication of a Regulation proposal by the Commission in July 2023. Even though the proposals claims that new GMOs, and especially "category 1 new genomic techniques", must be considered as conventionnal breeding, all these GMOs are covered by patents. In the absence of traceability requirement, breeders and farmers will lose their means of protection in case of accidental contamination leading to infrigement proceedings, and will face as well abusive extension of the scope of patents to conventional seeds. This proposal goes clearly against the EU obligations on farmers' rights to seeds, and will have a tremendous economic impact on the whole GMO-free farming, breeding and industry sector.

Therefore, this statement calls on agriculture ministers : 1) to demand the establishment, in regard to European patent law, of a clear interpretation of "essentially biological processes" and a limitation of the scope of patents on technical processes, to enforce the ban of patents on conventional seeds and plants. 2) In regard to the regulation of New Genomic Techniques, to not to push the legislative process towards a new regulation of New Genomic Techniques any further, as long as its impact on the scope of patents on seeds is not fully evaluated and corrected by political decision making. The proposal on NGTs itself and the following process ignores big controversial topics such as patents. The proposed report on the impact of the patenting of plants as part of broader market analysis by 2026 is not sufficient to tackle the issue.

The statement can be downloaded in the sidebar.

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Statement - EN

Déclaration - FR

Declaración - ES

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