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07.08.17

The EPO Goes on a Greenwashing PR Campaign After Granting Patents on Life, Seeds, Plants and Genome

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Greenwashing card
Reference: Greenwashing

Summary: In an effort to paint the EPO with the “green” brush and frame the EPO as a friend of Earth, the EPO keeps spreading puff pieces in the media, even though it has all along granted monopolies on almost everything in nature (in defiance of its very own rules)

THE EPO has a very toxic relationship with nature. EPO management keeps privatising what’s naturally-occurring (since before humans existed), giving individuals and large corporations monopolies over nature itself, even genome.

“EPO management keeps privatising what’s naturally-occurring (since before humans existed), giving individuals and large corporations monopolies over nature itself, even genome.”There are actually many protests (out in the streets) over it. Even the USPTO has never been as radical as the EPO when it comes to patents on life.

The EPO has no potent explanation/face-saving response to the protesters. It just tries to ignore them. The management is really that arrogant. If it suppresses protests and strikes by its own employees, what are the chances the public can influence outcomes?

“The EPO has no potent explanation/face-saving response to the protesters.”A couple of days ago we saw this latest greenwashing puff piece, tailored for the EPO’s PR department. We would not be surprised if it came about due to pressure from the PR staff… that’s just how the EPO operates, people who are familiar with these tactics once told us.

This latest wave of EPO greenwashing was alluded to the other day; they did it a lot last year and in 2015 also. It’s despicable. Why are so-called ‘news’ sites covering this? Is it because some ‘journalists’ have nothing better to do than cover non-news? Here is the gist:

Published on Monday, July 3, the policy brief aims to “encourage an informed debate on climate change mitigation technologies, with findings based on the most recent data sources”.

So they want to “encourage [...] debate” sort of like Battistelli wants to foster “social [...] dialogue” (pure PR).

2 days ago we saw this new press release about the EPO granting a patent which would likely harm patients. EPO policy leads to that. It encouraged monopolies on nature and only after considerable resistance it was forced to backtrack on some (December of last year), earlier this month (or the very end of last month, depending whether the decision or the actual announcement counts) formalising this as the new policy. Here is one new article about it:

Based on a proposal submitted by the Office, the Administrative Council of the EPO decided on 29 June 2017 to amend Rules 27 and 28 EPC to exclude from patentability plants and animals exclusively obtained by an essentially biological breeding process.

As we noted beforehand (on the same day), this is a massive blow to confidence in European Patents. They can retroactively be revoked in bulk and there is no opportunity to appeal.

“…this is a massive blow to confidence in European Patents. They can retroactively be revoked in bulk and there is no opportunity to appeal.”Has the EU/EP stopped the EPO from patenting life? And if so, why not stop the gross injustices and violations of labour rights?

Earlier today in the Indian press we found that the “[s]eed industry association welcomes EU [sic] body move on patents”. To quote:

The National Seed Association of India (NSAI) has welcomed the European decision to refuse grant of patents in respect of plants or animals exclusively obtained by means of an essential biological process.

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO) voted for a change in the regulations of the European Patent Convention (EPC) in this direction.

“The EPO ruling gives clarity on product and further defines ‘the new variety’ developed through breeding, which is an essential biological process. The decision that it is not a subject matter of patent is a very important milestone in interpretation of IPR laws,” the National Seed Association of India has said.

What we are seeing here is the gradual realisation that the EPO is a pariah organisation and patent office, incapable of taking into account public interests and sometimes even directives/instructions from the European authorities. What category of patents may be next to be voided in one fell swoop? Maybe software patents, which are being granted every day in spite of the clear ban?

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