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PATENTS: Global appeal against patents on seeds and farm animals



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Global appeal against patents on seeds and farm animals
SOURCE: Press Release
AUTHOR: An International Civil Society Coalition
URL:    http://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/images/documents/pk_start_en.pdf
DATE:   26.03.2007
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Global appeal against patents on seeds and farm animals
Farmers' organisations and NGO's mobilise against the European Patent
Office in Munich, Germany

Munich, 26.3.2007 - A new international coalition of farmers' unions,
development- and environmental NGOs today is calling for a global
prohibition of patents on seeds and farm animals. Farmers increasingly
become dependent on multinational corporations, which own patents on
seeds and animals. The European Patent Office (EPO) has already granted
hundreds of patents on genetically modified and as well as conventional,
normal plants. Now the EPO is preparing a general approval of patents on
conventional breeding methods and normal plants and animals. In Munich,
the seat of the EPO, Misereor, Swissaid, the Declaration of Berne, No
Patents on Life! and Greenpeace as well as the farmers' unions from
Italy (Coldiretti), Argentina (Federación Agraria Argentina) and India
(Bharat Krishak Samaj) today launch the GLOBAL APPEAL and a joint
website www.no-patents-on-seeds.org against this fundamental decission
by the EPO.

"Our animals and our seeds are the result of hundreds of years of
breeding efforts by our farmers, and must not be patented," says Krishan
Bir Chaudhary, Executive Chairman of the largest Indian farmers'
organisation BKS - Bharat Krishak Samaj, today in Munich. "The
multinational companies expropriate farmers and want to bring
everything, from the field to the consumer, under their own controll."

The upcoming fundamental decission is a ruling by the Enlarged Board of
Appeal of the EPO which will decide on the valididty of a patent on
Broccoli (EP 1069819 B1). The approval of this patent would mean that in
future a mere genetic description of a plant or animal would be
sufficient to receive a patent covering the plant or animal as well as
methods for their production. The breeding of those plants and animals
as well as their agricultural use could also be controlled by the patent
holder. The decission of the EPO can be expected for this year. Would
patents on conventional breeding methods of plants and animals be
generally allowed, then legal challenges of individual patents would
become ineffective.

"Validating the patent on the Broccoli would mean a total and final
sellout of living nature" says Christoph Then from Greenpeace. "Patent
law is becoming an octopuss crabbing the basis for our food production,
plants and animals, to bring them under the controll of a few
multinational companies."

Next wednesday representatives of the coalition will attend a public
hearing of an appeal procedure at the EPO, concerning a patent on
conventional sunflower seeds. On thursday the alliance will also call
upon an EU patent conference organised by the German council presidency
in Berlin (www.bmj.bund.de/patkon) to protect European agriculture from
further encroachments by patents.

Further farmers' organisatons from Spain, Switzerland, Nicaragua, Peru,
Mexico and Brazil have already joined the Global Appeal.

Further Information:
Dr. Christoph Then (Greenpeace), Tel. 0171-8780 832
Tina Goethe (Swissaid), Tel. 0041-76 516 5957
Mute Schimpf (Misereor), Tel. 0172-1704 891.
and at www.greenpeace.de, www.keinpatent.de, www.misereor.de,
www.swissaid.ch, www.ebv.ch

Greenpeace Pressestelle
Tel. 040 / 306 18 - 340
Fax 040 / 306 18 - 130
presse@greenpeace.de
www.greenpeace.de
Anschrift
Greenpeace e.V.
Große Elbstr. 39
22767 Hamburg
Politische Vertretung
Marienstraße 19-20
10117 Berlin
Tel. 030 / 30 88 99-0
Fax 030 / 30 88 99-30


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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Farmers against patenting of seeds
SOURCE: The Financial Express, India
AUTHOR: Ashok B. Sharma
URL:    http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=159223
DATE:   28.03.2007
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Farmers against patenting of seeds

NEW DELHI, MAR 27: Indian farmers have joined hands with their
counterparts in Europe and Latin America to protest against patenting of
seeds and life forms.

The Munich-based European Patent Office (EPO) has now become the target
of attack as it has already granted hundreds of patents on genetically
modified (GM) seeds as well as on seeds developed through conventional
breeding process.

Further the EPO has on its agenda for according general approval of
patent rights over conventional breeding methods and normal plants and
animals. EPO's decision to accord such patent rights flows from the
ruling of its Enlarged Board of Appeal which is also set to decide on
the validity of a patent on Broccoli (EP 1069819 B1), this year.

"The approval of this patent would mean that in future a mere genetic
description of a plant or animal would be sufficient to get a patent
right covering the plant or animal as well as methods of their breeding.
Thus the use of plants and animals would be controlled by the patent
holders," said Krishan Bir Chaudhary, the executive chairman of India's
largest farmers' organisation.

In a telephonic conversation from Munich, Chaudhary further said : "We
farmers will fight for our sovereign rights over seeds and farm animals.
We cannot afford to lose our rights to multinational corporation. Our
animals and seeds are the result of hundreds of years of breeding by our
farmers." Chaudhary was one of the appellant who recently got the EPO to
revoke patent on Indian wheat landrace - Nap Hal."Validating the patent
on the Broccoli would mean a sellout of living nature," said Christoph
Then of Greenpeace.

The farmers' organizations from different countries alongwith NGOs like
Greenpeace, Misereor, Swissaid, The Declaration of Berne and No Patents
on Life launched a global appeal to protect their rights over seeds and
animals and also launched a website. Among other major farmers' union to
joint the protest are Coldiretti of Italy and Federacion Agraria
Argentina. The coalition of NGOs and farmers' organizations is slated to
attend a public hearing of an appeal procedure at EPO, relating to a
patent on conventional sunflower seeds. They will also attend the EU
patent conference organized by the German council presidency in Berlin.


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