In an attempt to stop patents on plants and animals of conventional breeding, ARCHE NOAH started a petition.

(c) D. Steinböck

Petition Information: No patents on plants and animals

ARCHE NOAH, BIO AUSTRIA and PRO-GE have been intensively collaborating and sharing information about the negative consequences of patents on plants and animals. In February 2016, they started a Petition against Patents on Plants and Animals. The European Patent Office (EPO) has its own highly controversial interpretation of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and thus grants more and more patents on conventional plants like tomato, pepper or broccoli.

On the 29th June 2016, 820.000 signatures gathered against patents on plants and animals were presented to the President of the board of directors of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg) in Munich (128.000 of those signatures were from Austria). This is a clear statement from civil society!

One year later, on 29th June 2017, after the European Commission urged the EPOrg to adjust their law practices to the European Biotech Directive, the EPO missed the chance for a significant change when its Administrative Council met to decide on changes to the Implementation Regulations. Unfortunately, Austria stayed the only country to vote against the inefficiently reworked regulations that contain various loopholes. This means the EPO will still be able to continue granting patents on life.

However, Austria’s vote against the Implementation Regulations showed us that our efforts are bearing fruits, which empowers us to keep fighting for changes! We thus must keep up our work to enlarge the political will to defy improper patent decisions on plant and animals. Our efforts are now required on two fronts: (1) supporting the Austrian policy to modify its national Patent Regulations to protect Austrian farmers, breeders and customers as good as possible from improper patents, and (2) expanding public and political pressure on the EPOrg, to reform its non-transparent, undemocratic and self-serving structures.