Thursday, 10 May 2012

Patently obvious

New EU laws are looking to broaden the scope of patenting what are called “essentially biological processes”

What is meant by this is selective breeding and crossing for example, to create new strains of plant or genetically selected animals.

However the process used is rather more natural than simply a laboratory based exercise - so how does one copyright it?

Currently multi-national companies are able to use patenting laws to monopolise new breeds, often for the purposes of agriculture. There have been some recent high profile cases concerning some of the biggest agricultural giants patenting breeds of tomato and broccoli, preventing competitors from growing similar strains. 

But should Europe have the competence to decide what gets patented and by whom?

Currently it is up to nation states to make such calls, and with so many social and moral implications of breeding new animals and plants, be it for consumer purposes or scientific experimentation, it is not right that the EU should have the power to decide. We must equip national patenting offices with the powers to discriminate in the UK who owns the intellectual property of what.

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