Thursday, May 03, 2007

European Patent Office Revokes Monsanto Soybean Patent

Following up on my April 30 post on the European ruling on Monsanto's patent, the decision has come back against the company's species-wide patent, according to the ETC Group.
From a press release the group sent out today:
According to Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher of EcoNexus, "Monsanto's patent couldn't even survive on its scientific merits. It was a thoroughly bad patent - from both a technical and moral perspective."

Multinational firm Syngenta also made oral arguments today opposing the patent. While their technical expertise may have contributed to the patent's ultimate downfall, their opposition is viewed by civil society as cynical. In January 2005, ETC Group reported on three Syngenta patent applications that also make breathtakingly broad claims - multi-genome patents with claims on gene sequences that extend to 40 plant species. Despite assurances from Syngenta that the company would let the patents lapse, all three applications appear to be active still at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). [See ETC Group Communique, "Syngenta - The Genome Giant?" January/February 2005]

This isn't ETC Group's first successful battle against species-wide patents. Most notably, another Agracetus patent - this one granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 1992 and claiming all genetically engineered cotton varieties - was eventually revoked in India and the US in 1994.

Other overly broad, unjust patents have yet to be revoked, however. The formal challenge to the notorious "Enola Bean" patent, US Patent No. 5,894,079, granted on a yellow bean genetically identical to a pre-existing Mexican bean variety, has entered its seventh year. [See ETC Group Genotype, "Whatever Happened to the Enola Bean Patent Challenge?" 21 December 2005]

posted by ryan griffis  # 3:06 PM

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