Patentability of plants – Protection of plant varieties
Several international studies on the socio-economic value of plant breeding show how the breeding sector has a strong positive impact on growth and employment, as well as on environmental protection and biodiversity preservation, and in view of the considerable economical interest involved, the property of exclusive rights can be a relevant advantage in such a competitive (seed and plant) market.
Figure 1 shows the number of international patent applications published per year in the International class A01H (new plants or processes for obtaining them; plant reproduction by tissue culture techniques) from 2014 to 2018 (1). Such figure shows how, despite of the value of the breeding sector, the innovative drive in this area has not increased, at least in recent years.
According the European Patent Office (EPO), a patent is not to be granted if the claimed subject-matter is directed to a specific plant variety or specific plant varieties (Art.53(b) EPC). The method for the plant’s production, be it by recombinant gene technology or by a classical plant breeding proce ...