Procedure : 2019/2800(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0041/2019

Texts tabled :

B9-0041/2019

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>B9‑0041/2019</NoDocSe>
PDF 128kWORD 51k

<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 patenting of essentially biological processes</Titre>

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


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Martin Häusling</Depute>

<Commission>{Verts/ALE}on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group</Commission>

<Depute>Dino Giarrusso</Depute>

</RepeatBlock-By>

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

B9‑0041/2019

European Parliament resolution on patenting of essentially biological processes

(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 the Commission Notice on certain articles of Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions (2016/C 411/03),

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

 having regard to decision T1063/18 of the Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) in case G3/19 on patenting of plants exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process,

 having regard to the patents granted by the EPO for the production of conventionally bred animals, such as sex selection and breeding material used in conventional breeding (EP 1263521, EP 1257168), selection of dairy cows (EP 1330552) and livestock production (EP 1506316),

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

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

 having regard to the referral of 4 April 2019 of a point of law to the Enlarged Board of Appeal by the President of the European Patent Office, in accordance with Article 112(1)(b) of the EPC,

 having regard to the oral question to the Commission on the patentability of plants and essential biological processes (O-000026/2019 – B9‑0051/2019),

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

A. whereas access to biological plant and animal breeding material is absolutely necessary in order to boost innovation and develop new varieties and races so as to guarantee global food security and prevent monopolies within the animal and plant breeding sectors, while at the same time providing more opportunities for SMEs and farmers;

B. whereas breeding plants in local and ultra-local conditions is especially necessary as a means to contend with the impact of climate change on weather and hygrometry in addition to the emergence of new parasites and new plant disease epidemics; whereas this requires farmers and seed breeders to have open access to breeding material;

C. whereas plant and animal breeding is an innovative process that has been – and continues to be – practised by farmers and farming communities since the birth of agriculture, and whereas unpatented varieties and breeding methods are important for genetic diversity;

D. whereas patents may be granted in the field of genetic engineering, but the ban on patents on plant and animal varieties must be safeguarded;

E. whereas products obtained from essentially biological processes, such as plants, seeds, native traits and genes, should be excluded from patentability;

F. whereas Directive 98/44/EC does legislate for biotechnological inventions, in particular genetic engineering, but it was not the legislator’s intention to allow for the patentability of products obtained from essentially biological processes within the scope of the directive;

G. whereas numerous applications concerning products obtained from essentially biological processes are currently awaiting a decision by the EPO; whereas the EPO therefore urgently needs to clarify its rules on the matter;

1. Expresses its concern that the recent decision of the Technical Board of Appeal of the EPO in case G3/19 could lead to more patents being granted by the EPO in respect of natural traits introduced into new varieties by means of essentially biological processes such as crossing and selection;

2. Considers that decisions taken by a technical body of the EPO should not have the power to overrule the Administrative Council, the sole organ to have been given legislative powers by the European Patent Convention, with the support of all 38 contracting states;

3. Considers that internal decision-making rules of the EPO cannot undermine democratically legitimate political control of European patent law and its interpretation and the legislator’s intent as clarified by Commission Notice 2016/C 411/03;

4. Calls on the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO to answer positively to the two questions laid down in the referral of a point of law by the President of the European Patent Office;

5. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the Union will safeguard guaranteed access to, and use of, material obtained from essentially biological processes for plant and animal breeding, in order – where applicable – not to interfere with practices guaranteeing breeders’ exemption and farmers’ rights;

6. Calls on the Commission to send observers to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO concerning case G3/19 on patenting of plants exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process, following the conclusions of Notice 2016/C 411/03;

7. Calls on the Commission to pursue the exclusion from patentability of essentially biological processes in the context of discussions on the harmonisation of multilateral patent law;

8. Calls on the Commission to report on the development and implications of patent law in the field of biotechnology and genetic engineering, as required in Article 16(c) of Directive 98/44/EC and as requested by Parliament in its resolution of 10 May 2012 on the patenting of essential biological processes;

9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the European Patent Office.

 

[1] OJ C 261 E, 10.9.2013, p. 31.

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

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

Last updated: 17 September 2019Legal notice