No Patents on Plants and Animals! Act now – Save the future of our food!

Campaign against Biopatents

The patenting of animals and plants as technical inventions was criticized by church organisations for many years. Now not only genetically modified organisms but animals and plants that stem from conventional breeding methods are patented in Europe. Please help us to change this privatizing of nature. It is a threat to biodiversity and food security.

On 25 March 2015, the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) confirmed the view that current interpretation of patent law is unacceptable. Whilst processes for conventional breeding cannot be patented, plants and animals stemming from these processes can be patented. This is not only contradictory in itself, but also undermines the prohibitions in European patent law: “Plant and animal varieties or essentially biological processes for production plants and animals” are excluded from patentability (Art 53 b, EPC). The decision made by the Enlarged Board of Appeal will be binding for all other EPO decisions in this context, and therefore the rules for the interpretation of the European Patent Convention need to be changed in order to strengthen and uphold current prohibitions already set out in European Patent Law. The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has the power to do this by changing the Implementing Regulation. Please help us to put more pressure on the Administrative Council to ensure that this happens!

More information (in English, French, Spanish and German) and online signature here.


Background information on patenting:

The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it - Biopatents and food security from a Christian perspective

A study by the Evangelical Church in Germany's Advisory Commission on Sustainable Development

How and to what extent should human dominion over plants and animals be limited in order to protect the creation?

From a Christian perspective, God is the creator of all life. Within the context of Old Testament experience, the psalmist wrote: "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it" (Ps. 24 : 1). People must therefore answer to God when it comes to their treatment of God's creation and of the lives of the plants and animals that form a part of it. The EKD's treatment of the topic of biopatents is driven by these convictions.

Grounded in the perspective of such basic theological questions, the EKD is entering into a heated debate over biopatents with the present study. The study delineates the effects of biopatents on global food security and encourages the introduction of legal and institutional patent reforms. The study thus aims to promote both the interests of the common good and to provide a compulsory assessment of the socioeconomic and ecological consequences of biopatents.

Over 10 years of experience with the European Biopatent Directive - the main body of regulation for biopatents in Europe - has shown that the feared effects of issuing patents for plants and animals have in fact manifested themselves: Now patents have even been issued for plants and animals that were not genetically engineered. The diversity of seeds and animal breeds has declined; agricultural research and breeding have been impeded; traditional knowledge has been privatized through biopiracy; and food security has not been improved but in fact endangered and further reduced.


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