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EPO PATENT CASES

Important legal disputes at the European Patent Office

The European Patent Office (EPO) has already granted many hundreds of patents on genetically engineered plants and animals (see statistics) and has even started to grant patents on normal, non modified plants .

However, legally speaking, there is still uncertainty on where patentability ends. Both the EPC and the EU directive 98/44/EC set limits to patentability of living organisms. Nevertheless, the EPO has repeatedly granted patents which clearly go behond these limits. Some of them have been revoked following an opposition procedure. In other cases the EPO has interpreted the laws in such a way as to undermine the limits of patentability.

Here we present the most important patents which have been disputed and which are important for the development of case law in the area of plants and animals.

 

THE BROCCOLI CASE (Bioscience) - EP 1069819 B1 - The Test Case: Conventional breeding and plants
TEST CASE 2: WRINKELED TOMATOE (Israel) - EP 1211926 B1
PATENTS ON HUNGER: A report
THE PATENT ON POLITICIANS (Greenpeace) - EP 07006352
PATENTS ON BREEDING OF ANIMALS - EP 1141418 and EP 1506316
PATENTS GRANTED ON NORMAL PLANTS
THE NOVARTIS CASE - EP 0448511 B1 - T1054/96 - G1/98 - The case which allowed patents on ge-plants
THE ROUNDUP-READY CASE (Monsanto) - EP 546090 B2 - Roundup-Ready resistant plants
THE SUNFLOWER CASE 1 (CSIC) - EP 1185161 B1 - Oil from sunflower seeds
THE SUNFLOWER CASE 2 (Pioneer) - EP 1465475 B1 - Orobranche resistance
THE GENE-GUN CASE (Agracetus/Monsanto) - EP 301749 B1 - One of the of the first "ge" patents
THE LETTUCE CASE 1 (Rijk Zwaan) - EP 921720 B2 - Louse resistant salad
THE LETTUCE CASE 2 (EZB) - EP 1179089 B1 - Pathogen resistant salad
THE RICE MONOPOLY CASE (Syngenta) - Several patents covering the rice genome
THE SOY-OIL CASE (Monsanto) - EP 1538896 A0 - High yielding soy and oil
THE CORN CASE (DuPont) - EP 744888 B1 - Corn, oil and the use of the oil
THE WHEAT CASE (Monsanto) - EP 445929 B2 - Soft milling wheat and biscuits
THE PIG MONOPOLY CASE (Monsanto) - Patent aplications on pigs and herds of pigs
PATENTS ON FARM ANIMALS - An overview
THE SUPER-SALMON CASE - EP 578653 B1 - Gene construct for transgenic fish