Procedure : 2019/2800(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0040/2019

Texts tabled :

B9-0040/2019

Debates :

Votes :

PV 19/09/2019 - 7.4
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2019)0020

<Date>{16/09/2019}16.9.2019</Date>
<NoDocSe>B9‑0040/2019</NoDocSe>
PDF 134kWORD 46k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreSuite>further to Question for Oral Answer B9‑0051/2019</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 136(5) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on patents and plant breeders’ rights with a view to submitting a written statement to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (case G3/19)</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2800(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Annie Schreijer‑Pierik, Herbert Dorfmann</Depute>

<Commission>{PPE}on behalf of the PPE Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0040/2019

B9‑0040/2019

European Parliament resolution on patents and plant breeders’ rights with a view to submitting a written statement to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (case G3/19)

(2019/2800(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its resolution of 10 May 2012 on the patenting of essential biological processes[1],

 having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2015 on patents and plant breeders’ rights[2],

 having regard to Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions[3], in particular Article 4 thereof, which states that products obtained from essentially biological processes are not patentable,

 having regard to the Commission Notice of 8 November 2016 on certain articles of Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions[4],

 having regard to the European Patent Convention (EPC) of 5 October 1973, in particular Article 53(b) thereof,

 having regard to the Implementing Regulations to the EPC, in particular Rule 26 thereof, which states that Directive 98/44/EC is to be used as a supplementary means of interpretation for European patent applications and patents concerning biotechnological inventions,

 having regard to the decision of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation of 29 June 2017 amending Rules 27 and 28 of the Implementing Regulations to the EPC (CA/D 6/17)[5],

 having regard to the referral of several questions pertaining to decision T 1063/18 of Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.04 of the European Patent Office (EPO) of 5 December 2018 to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO by the President of the EPO)[6],

 having regard to Rules 136(5) and 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas access to biological plant material, including plant traits, is absolutely necessary for boosting innovation and developing new varieties in order to guarantee global food security, tackle climate change and prevent monopolies within the breeding sector, and for providing more opportunities for SMEs;

B. whereas intellectual property rights are key to safeguarding economic incentives for the development of new plant products and ensuring competitiveness;

C. whereas patents on products derived from conventional breeding or on genetic material necessary for conventional breeding may undermine the exclusion established in Article 53(b) of the EPC and in Article 4 of Directive 98/44/EC;

D. whereas products obtained from essentially biological processes, such as plants, seeds, native traits and genes, should not be patentable;

E. whereas plant breeding is an innovative process that has been practised by farmers and farming communities since the birth of agriculture, and whereas the unrestricted use of unpatented varieties and breeding methods is important for genetic diversity;

F. whereas Directive 98/44/EC legislates for biotechnological inventions, in particular genetic engineering, but – as carefully substantiated in the Commission Notice of 8 November 2016 – it was not the legislator’s intention to make it possible for products obtained from essentially biological processes to be patented under the directive;

K. whereas the contracting states to the EPC have expressed their concerns with regard to the legal uncertainty caused by decision T 1063/18[7] of 5 December 2018, in which the Technical Board decided that Implementing Rule 28(2) should be considered invalid;

L. whereas this decision was referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO by the President of the EPO during the 159th meeting of the Administrative Council in March 2019;

M. whereas numerous applications concerning products obtained from essentially biological processes are awaiting a decision by the EPO, leaving applicants, as well as all those who will be affected by these patents, in dire need of a legally binding decision regarding the validity of Rule 28(2);

1. Reiterates its strong objection to patents granted for natural traits introduced into new varieties by means of essentially biological processes such as crossing and selection;

2. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to do everything in their power to secure legal clarity regarding the prohibition of the patentability of products obtained from essentially biological processes by the EPO;

3. Calls on the Commission to therefore submit a written statement to the Registry of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO by 1 October 2019 to protect the innovative capacity of the European plant-breeding sector and the general public interest and to clarify that it was never the intention of the co-legislators to permit patents on natural traits that are introduced into plants by means of essentially biological processes such as crossing and selection;

4. Calls on the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO to clarify its position on the validity of Rule 28(2) by answering the questions referred to it by the President of the EPO;

5. Calls on the Enlarged Board of Appeal to confirm that with regard to Article 164(2) of the EPC, the meaning and scope of Article 53 of the EPC can be clarified in the Implementing Regulations to the EPC without this clarification being a priori limited by the interpretation of this article given in earlier decisions of the boards of appeal or the Enlarged Board of Appeal;

6. Calls on the Enlarged Board of Appeal to confirm that the exclusion from patentability of plants exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process pursuant to Rule 28(2) of the EPC is in full conformity with Article 53(b) of the EPC;

7. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the EPO.

 

[1] OJ CE 261, 10.9.2013, p. 31.

[2] OJ C 399, 24.11.2017, p. 188.

[3] OJ L 213, 30.7.1998, p. 13.

[4] OJ C 411, 8.11.2016, p. 3.

[5] Official Journal of the EPO, A56, 31.7.2017.

[6] Official Journal of the EPO, A52, 31.5.2019.

Last updated: 18 September 2019Legal notice