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Growing problems for plant R&D as patent office told it has conflicting rules

The process for patenting plants in Europe has been thrown into turmoil, after the European Patent Office was told by its own advisers that the rules governing this area of research are in conflict.

On 20 February, the EPO announced that it had held a meeting to explore its options, but a solution has not yet been reached. The office is now facing calls to halt work related to the patenting of conventionally bred plants.

The situation is the latest twist in a long-running battle between agricultural businesses and green groups, with plant researchers who wish to patent their work caught in the middle.

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