Parlement européen - REPONSE à Question E-006024-18 de Pascal Arimont - brevet sur l’orge brassicole

Niveau juridique : Union européenne

Texte de la question du 28-11-2018

In many European countries — particularly Belgium — beer brewing is part of a centuries-old tradition. In 2016, beer culture in Belgium was even added to the Unesco Cultural Heritage list.

At the same time, the European Patent Office (EPO) issued three patents for brewing barley (EP2384110, EP2373154 and EP2575433) to two companies in 2016, patents based on conventional varieties. Under Article 4(1) of Directive 98/44/EC, such patents are generally prohibited.

How, specifically, would the EU want the provisions in Directive 98/44/EC to be implemented and enforced in the aforementioned instances?

What is the EU doing to protect seeds from being patented, so as to protect biodiversity in Europe and continue to safeguard free access to a broad array of plant varieties in the future?

Texte de la réponse du 21-02-2019

The European Patent Office, the executive branch of the European Patent Organisation which is an international organisation not bound by the EC law, only grants patents on the basis of the European Patent Convention (EPC). However, the main provisions of Directive 98/44 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions were inserted into the implementing rules of the EPC. The Commission clarified in its November 2016 Notice that plants directly obtained by essential biological processes may not be protected by patents. The content of that notice was introduced into the implementing rules of the EPC.

The Commission is aware of the importance of access to genetic resources for breeders to develop new plant varieties/seeds. In this context, the Commission is in contact with Member States and stakeholders to ensure that a free and non-discriminatory access to genetic resources is offered to breeders.

  • Lien vers la question et sa réponse ici.