No Patents on Seeds - Communiqué de presse du 28 avril 2023 : « La nouvelle loi autrichienne sur les brevets envoie un signal clair contre les brevets sur les semences »

Niveau juridique : International

Texte du communiqué :

« New patent law in Austria sends a clear signal against patents on seeds - Random mutations excluded from patent protection

28 April 2023 / The Austrian Parliament (Nationalrat) has passed an amendment to national patent law –this is in effect a newpatent law which excludes, in particular, random genetic mutations from patent protection. It means that patents such as those issued by the European Patent Office (EPO) in recent years on, e. g. brewing barley and maize, can no longer be granted in Austria. Even though the law is not binding for future EPO decisions, it sends a clear Europe-wide signal for the general prohibition of patents on conventional breeding.

« This change in the law brings us a big step closer to ending the abuse of patents in Europe, » says Katherine Dolan from Arche Noah, which is part of the No Patents on Seeds!alliance. « Yesterday’s decision makes Austria a pioneer in Europe, as the new patent law explicitly excludes all methods of classical plant breeding from patentability.

« No patents on seeds! expects the rest of Europe to follow in Austria’s footsteps and prevent conventional plant breeding from being blocked by an increasing number of patents on biodiversity. Ultimately, this is not about introducing new prohibitions into European patent law, it is about the correct interpretation of existing prohibitions which, amongst others, prohibit patents on plant varieties. In Europe, plant varieties and conventional breeding methods are excluded from patentability.

Nevertheless, the EPO has already granted around 300 patents on conventionally-bred plants. This means that unless the patent holders give their consent, the plant varieties covered by these patents can no longer be used to breed and market improved varieties. The free use of all varieties available on the market for further breeding is, however, considered to be a major driving force behind plant breeding in Europe. Recently, even the German Plant Breeders’ Association (BDP) has shown great concern about these patents. »

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NOTA : Comme nous l’avions développé dans la Synthèse des actualités juridique juin-juillet 2022, il semble problématique d’assimiler les techniques de mutagenèse aléatoire à des procédés essentiellement biologique… Certes, cela permet de les faire sortir du champs de la brevetabilité, mais en même temps, cela implique que la mutagenèse « traditionnelle » ne devrait pas être considéré comme un procédé OGM (qui sont nécessairement des procédés technologiques et donc brevetables).