On November 29 in Brussels, Philippe de Jong of ALTIUS, on behalf of CIOPORA, presented the recently approved CIOPORA Position on Patents for Plant related inventions to an auditorium of more than 200 experts. While the title of the conference sponsored by the EPO and CPVO was “Supporting innovation in the plant sector”, it quickly became clear that the focus of the event lied on Patents. It was also evident that the CIOPORA position is not entirely in line with the new approach of the EPO in regard to products originating from essentially biological processes, namely to exclude them from patentability as a result of the policy change of the European Commission.
Instead of the radical step to forbid Patents on such products, CIOPORA´s position is more balanced and is based on the general principles of patent law, including novelty and inventive step. Criticism was voiced to the legislators in the member states of the European Patent Convention, the governing legal act for the EPO, that such an important change of the policy was not dealt with in parliaments but rather in the executive bodies of the member states, mainly in the EU Commission and the EPO itself. All speakers in the Conference agreed that effective protection for innovations in the plant world, be it varieties or traits or biotech inventions, is necessary. Only the way to best achieve this was disputed.
To read the press release from the EPO, visit: https://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2017/20171129a_de.html