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More than a dozen patents were filed worldwide, more or less claiming property on the whole genome of the rice plants. Several thousands of gene sequences are claimed as invention of Syngenta. Related plant qualities are resistat to certain stress conditions, pest organism and compounds of special nutritional value.

All uses of the listed gene sequences are claimed, no matter if the usage applies in biotechnological or conventional breeding. Claims are aiming to all gene sequences with similar structures and similar functions. All other plant species with similar genes are covered by the patent applications 

The patents caused a public debate and after heavy criticism many applications were withdrawn. 

But here are some of those which are still pending (as of November 2006):

 EP 1402042 A2 20040331 WO 2003008540

under examination

Title: Abiotic stress responsive polynucleotides and polypeptides

Applicant: Syngenta (US)

Claims: Plant DNA (2303 or even 4606 sequences); peptide; transgenic plant, seed, progeny, hybrid plant; method wherein abiotic stress is saline, cold, osmotic stress or any combination; computer readable medium; antibody.

State of procedure: first examination report very negative: one or more divisional applications may be submitted.


WO 03/027249 EP 1576163 

request for examination

Title: High-protein-phenotype-associated plant genes

Applicant: Syngenta

Claims: 18 DNAs from maize, rice, arabidopsis, wheat, hordeum; transgenic plant, monocot, dicot; seed, progeny; method to confer altered nutritional qualities to a plant; method of marker-assisted selection; product, food or feed product; method for producing peptide for therapy or industry

EP 1127143 WO 0026389 A2 20000511

granted 11.01.2006

Title: DNA comprising rice anther-specific gene and transgenic plant transformed therewith

Applicant: Novartis AG

Claims: DNA from Oryza, specific for anther, to disrupt formation of viable pollen. Plant, male-sterile plant: rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, orchardgrass.

Actual state of procedure at the EPO: granted 11.01.06, no opposition.

Also granted in Australia, China, Russia, USA and in Austria and Germany after EPO grant; further applications in Brazil, Canada, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Poland, Turkey and US similar applications in Israel, Korea Nov 06: no opposition

EP 1294914 WO 01098480 A2 20011227

in examination

Title: Promoters for plant gene expression

Applicant: Syngenta (US)

Claims: Plant DNA, root specific expression; 567 sequences, 80% identity; transgenic plant, dicot, monocot, maize, soybean,...sorghum, rice, wheat; seed, fruit, vegetable, progeny; method to alter phenotype of plant (regulatory, insect, stress resistance, nutrient uptake).

Actual state of procedure at the EPO: request for examination 07.12.02. Nov 06: Search/examination report (27.09.2006) bad, not inventive, not new! Not finally rejected.

Further applications in Australia and Canada. 

EP 1379659 WO 02081696 A2 20021017

request for examination

Title: Oryza sativa nuclear cap binding protein 80

Applicant: Syngenta Participations AG (US)

Claims: Abiotic stress, water deficit or dehydration. DNA from rice, polypeptide, transformed plant (cereal, potato, wheat, rice, corn, oat, barley, rye, dicot), producing a product (seed, fruit, vegetable, progeny); plant, seed, progeny; mutagenesis cassette. State of procedure: beginning of examination (Search report is negative for Syngenta)


For more information go to the following:

Syngenta's Rice Monopolies

Syngenta's Rice Strategies: Patently Unfair (The New Nation article)

Disclaimer: The documents presented here for download are copies of those from the European Patent Office (EPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Legally binding are only the originals available from the organizations themselves.

WO...  numbers are world patent applications, at WIPO

EP... numbers are European Patents 

EP...A. numbers are European patent applications 

EP....B1 numbers are European Patents as granted

EP....B2 numbers are patents as granted after the closure of a dispute

Within the juridical structure of the EPO:

Opposition is the First Instance

Appeal is the Second Instance

Enlarged Board of Appeal is the highest court within the EPO, which has the final say.