Compte rendu de la réunion du groupe de dialogue civil « Arable Crops –COP & Seeds » du 6 février 2018

Niveau juridique : Union européenne

Extraits :

« 3) ESA delivered a presentation on Plant breeding innovation, followed by a discussion.

COPA-COGECA stated that innovation in plant breeding should not be hampered and that these innovative techniques may play a key rôle to face current and future agricultural challenges. Moreover, the products bred through these techniques will reach the EU market anyway through import, and EU farmers cannot afford not to have access to plant breeding innovation. However, a way to have production lines without plant breeding innovation shall be found to let farmers have freedom of choice.

Via Campesina stated that plant breeding innovations shall be considered and regulated as technique of genetic modification. Thus, they should be regulated under the EC Directive 2001/18 on genetically modified organisms, meaning undergoing traceability and labelling requirements.

ESA stated that plant breeding innovating can help overcoming the challenges that agriculture is facing. If the EU will close the door to these innovative techniques, regulating all of them under the spectrum of the genetically modified organisms Directive, the EU market competitiveness will be hampered, while other breeders and farmers around the world will have access to these innovations. There is no product obtained through plant breeding innovation on the EU market because there is no clarity regarding their legal classification. The delay in legally framing these techniques is also hampering investments. Other than the conventional agriculture, plant breeding innovation may also represent an added value for the organic sector. (…)

6) The Commission presented the relation between patent on seeds and plant variety rights.

COPA expressed concerns regarding the potential patentability of plant varieties resulting from the application of plant breeding innovation.

COPA hopes that the use of these innovative techniques will not lead to patentability of plant varieties, also considering that the genetic intervention on the seed cannot be detected in most of cases.

VIA CAMPESINA stated that the link between plant breeding innovation and patents is ambiguousbecause it’s not clear if the products bred through these techniques will end up being regulated as GMOs or not. Legal clarification is needed to understand if they will be patentable or not. The Commission stated that they can only specify the scope of the patent Directive which is in force. The content cannot be extended or reduced and the characteristics to be proven to obtain the patent on seeds will not change.

COPA stressed that this Directive needs further clarification and that is essential to speak in one voice to avoid plant varieties to be patented. »

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