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Parliamentary questions
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10 August 2020
Question for written answer E-004527/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Rosa D'Amato (NI)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Patentability of grapes

It is enshrined in Directive 98/44/EC that plant and animal varieties, including parts and characteristics thereof, and essentially biological processes and products obtained by means of such processes cannot be patented.

The European Patent Office, by way of Opinion G3/19 adopted by its Grand Board of Appeal on 14 May 2020, has abandoned its previous position and established that plants obtained exclusively from essentially biological processes cannot be patented (1) .

Disputes have arisen in Apulia between farmers and the patent holders of seedless grape varieties (2) .

Breeders are switching from granting patent concession contracts to trademark concession contracts, but despite this change there are still disagreements between patent holders and farmers, who are the ones losing out financially (3) .

Can the Commission therefore state:

1. What action is will take at EU level, in conjunction with the Member States, to reduce this financial imbalance for farmers, who are unable to produce patented varieties without a licence;

2. What steps it will take vis-à third countries to ensure that essentially biological processes and products obtained from them are not deemed patentable; and

3. whether the reports provided for in Article 16 of Directive 98/44/EC have been published and can be easily consulted.

Original language of question: IT
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