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19 July 2010: No Patents on Seeds Conference

On July the 20th the highest Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office will be handling a highly controversial case about patenting regular broccoli and tomatoe types. These patents are seen as test cases. If granted this will open the flood gates for a rush of applications by agricultural multinational companies that are ready to acquire the Intellectual Property Rights of large parts of the food chain. In recent years there is worrying new trend to apply for patents on seeds and animals that have been bred conventionally. Granting these patents will have en enormous impact on agriculture and food production. On this day No Patents on Seeds will have a manifestation outside the EPO office in Munich. The next day there is a Public Hearing at the EPO about the impacts of these patents.

The Netherlands have in important position in the international seed market. Dutch breeders are rahter unanimous in their criticism of the patent law which will lead to further monopolisation of the seed market, will frustrate innovation and severely restrict breeders, farmers and researchers to do their job. In response the Dutch Government has called for a thorough investigation of the matter. The resulting report 'Veredelde Zaken' concluded that patent law can only go ahead with major exemptions, and important alterations to the European Directive [2]. The Dutch Parliament called for follow up research and firm action [3]. One of the authors of the report will speak at the Conference on Monday.

A SEED Europe will attend the conference and closely follow developments and report on the events [4]. In April 2010 A SEED published the borochure 'You reap what you sow' on monopolisation in the seed industry [5].

[1] Conference website

[2] Dutch Report Veredelde Zaken:

[3] Article by organic chain organisation Biologica: Dutch debate on Patents vs Breeders' Rights not finished

[4] A SEED Europe is an international action group located in Amsterdam, The Nehterlands. A SEED fights for truely  sustainable and fair food production and is part of the growing movement for sustainable agriculture and food sovereighnty in Europe.

[5] Download A SEED brochure here: