After a January 20th hearing in Munich Germany, The European Patent Office has revoked a false Monsanto GMO patent on melons.
The Europe-based coalition No Patents on Seeds spearheaded the opposition. According to their press release, Monsanto claimed melons with a natural resistance to plant viruses was its own invention even though the resistance was already detected in indigenous melon varieties in India.
As The Hindu explains, melons have a natural resistance to certain plant viruses. In the case of Cucurbit Yellow Stunting Disorder virus (CYSDV)—which has been spreading through North America, Europe and North Africa for several years—certain melons are known to be naturally resistant to it. Using conventional breeding methods, this type of resistance was introduced from an Indian melon to other melons and has now been patented as a Monsanto “invention.”
Opponents feared that by arming itself with this patent— “closterovirus-resistant melon plants,” or EP1962578, issued May 2011, Monsanto “could block access to all breeding material inheriting the virus resistance derived from the Indian melon,” The Hindu reported.
No Patents on Seeds argued European patent law does not allow patents on plant varieties and processes for conventional breeding.
“The patent was based on essentially biological processes for breeding and claimed plant varieties. This was a clear violation of European patent law,” said No Patents on Seeds coordinator Christoph Then in a statement.
He added that revocation of the Monsanto GMO patent was “a huge success,” however, “politicians need to make sure that laws are applied properly and prohibitions are no longer ignored.”
But with plant biotechnology advancing, it’s evident more patents will continue to be filed, and policing these patents effectively will be important. According to research from No Patents on Seeds, in 2015 alone, approximately 100 new patents were filed by Bayer, Dupont/Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto. Given these patents are for carrots, potatoes, brassica plants, maize, melons, pepper, rice, lettuce, soybeans, spinach, tomatoes, wheat and onions, these patents highlight the increasingly controversial topic of corporations patenting the world’s plants and seeds for profit — but for now, one less erroneous patent has been approved.
To read the entire article, go to http://ecowatch.com/2016/01/27/monsantos-violate-patent-law/