European Patent Office limits controversial biotech patent for GM soybean varieties

On 6 May, the European Patent Office held a hearing concerning a patent monopoly by Monsanto on genetically modified soybeans.

The Patent Office decided to limit the "soya" patent awarded to Agracetus in 1994 (company later taken over by Monsanto) only to soybean plants, following a public hearing on 6 May. As a result of the decision, the patent continues to cover all transgenic soybean varieties and seeds regardless of the genes used and methods of transformation.

Several civil society groups organised opposition to this soybean patent because it jeopardises, in their view, food security and undermine biodiversity. But the patent is also contested by the agrochemical industry itself because they fear that it could stop soybean research worldwide.

The decision may be contested in second-instance proceedings by the affected parties.

 

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