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Parliamentary questions
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29 July 2018
Question for written answer E-004187-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Miguel Viegas (GUE/NGL)

 Subject:  Granting patents on conventional seeds
 Answer in writing 

The European Patent Office (EPO) continues to grant patents on seeds. This is causing supply to become increasingly concentrated, to the detriment of biodiversity and the genetic heritage of plants. Having already granted patents on six varieties of grape, cucumber, soy bean, onion, tomato and potato, the EPO has again proceeded to grant a patent on a variety of melon (EP 2455475) to the Dutch company ENZA Zaden. All of the plant varieties concerned were derived using similar conventional breeding techniques.

The EPO is once again violating EU guidelines, which do not allow for plant varieties obtained without genetic manipulation to be patented, i.e. using only conventional breeding techniques.

What is the Commission’s view on this situation? What action will it take to ensure compliance with the European Parliament’s guidelines and block such attempts to privatise a genetic heritage that should remain public?

Original language of question: PT 
Last updated: 10 August 2018Legal notice