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No patenting of conventionally bred animals and plants

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The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) decided on 14.05.2020 that the patenting of conventionally bred animals and plants is not permissible.

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The patenting of methods of conventional breeding (e.g. selection and crossing) has been excluded from patenting for a long time. With the current decision in case G 3/19 (pepper), the Enlarged Board of Appeal made it clear that the prohibition of patenting also applies to plants and animals created with these methods. The EPO has thus confirmed Germany's position in this case.

In February 2012, this open question was a major reason for the Bundestag's demand for the establishment of a biopatent monitoring system by the Federal Government and biennial reporting to the Bundestag. Already before, in November 2011, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) had commissioned the Information and Coordination Centre for Biological Diversity (IBV) of the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) to set up and coordinate such a biopatent monitoring system. On this basis, the IBV coordinates the monitoring of biopatents and undertakes research in the field of animals. The Bundessortenamt is responsible for the plant sector.

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