4-Patents: Greenpeace closes Patent Conference in Munich
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- Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2000 23:34:32 +0100
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EUROPEAN PATENT CONFERENCE CLOSED BY
Munich, 23 November, 2000 - Following the ongoing resistance by
delegates of the European Patent Conference currently conveining
in Munich to discuss the issue of "Patents on Life", Greenpeace
today suspended the conference for the time being. This morning
35 activists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France,
Luxembourg, Italy and Denmark blocked the entrances to the
venue of the conference (the European Patent Office) and prevented
the delegations from entering. Greenpeace now calls on the
governments to stand up to their political responsibility and
urgently address the question of patents on life.
"The civil cervants who are in Munich to negotiate the future of
European patent law, are consistently ignoring the protests and
worries of the public," explained Christoph Then of Greanpeace.
"Whilst industry lobbyists are allowed access to the conference,
the interest of the public have been locked out. Now Greenpeace
has locked the delegations out."
Strong criticism against the patenting of life has come from many
sides. A current poll in Germany showed 84% of the people
expressing opposition against patents on living organisms and their
genes; in Austria 1,2 million citizens signed a petition against
patents on life a few years ago. The Council of Europe in
Strasbourg passed 2 resolutions during the past year, calling on a
moratorium of patents on genes, plants,
animals and parts of the human body; representations of farmers
and European doctors have expressed their opposition as well.
Churches and Ethic Commissions in several countries (e.g.
France, Denmark) have rejected the idea of patents on life as
immoral. Criticism increasingly comes also from parts of industry
Even the governments and parliaments of 6 countries (Germany,
The Netherlands, Italy, France, Belgium and Norway) have voiced
concern. Nevertheless, their delegations at the Patent Conference
have so far not acted accordingly. Instead they have avoided the
issue and last Tuesday once again opted to have non-industry
NGOs like Greenpeace be excluded.
"By closing the conference of these incompetent technocrats we
give the governments the chance to correct their delegations
arrogant behaviour," said Then. "We are calling on ministers to
start the open dialouge with the public on this fundamental issue."
For more information in situ you can give the contacts of
Thomas Schweiger +49.171.8780.844
Christoph Then +49-171.8780.832