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Patent office accused of subverting EU law

The European Patent Office has deliberately left loopholes in its regulations around the patenting of biological breeding processes, the Green group of MEPs has alleged.

The EPO announced on 29 June that it had amended its regulations “in order to exclude from patentability plants and animals exclusively obtained by an essentially biological breeding process”. It did so in response to a clarification issued by the European Commission in November 2016 that an EU law from 1998 was intended to prevent the patenting of products arising from breeding processes not involving additional genetic modification.

The amended regulation provides “more clarity and legal certainty for users of the European patent system”, the EPO said. It will apply from 1 July, and related patent proceedings that have been suspended since December will be gradually resumed.

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