Monsanto's Indian wheat patent withdrawn in Europe (4/10/2004)
Athens News Agency
October 4, 2004- In a clear victory for Greenpeace and Indian farmers, European Patent office (EPO) on 23rd September revoked the patent on Indian "Nap Hal" wheat variety following a legal opposition filed by Greenpeace at the EPO in February. EPO has informed Greenpeace in a letter that the Patent EP 445929, has been revoked in total.
On May 21,2003, The European Patent office in Munich had granted a patent to Monsanto, better known as the world's largest trader in genetically engineered plants. The patent covered wheat exhibiting a special baking quality that Monsanto claimed to be its invention, which Greenpeace proved in its opposition to be a wheat variety bred by Indian farmers for improving its baking quality and not a genetically engineered invention as claimed by Monsanto.
"This was clearly a bio piracy attempt by Monsanto and would have set a new and dangerous trend . Revocation of the patent in total reinforces a victory for the farmers in India and a lesson to learn that we need to be much more proactive to protect our traditional knowledge." said Dr. Ashesh Tayal, Scientific Advisor, Greenpeace India.
"This is a big success for farmers all over the world. Greenpeace showed that Monsanto took a patent based on Bio piracy, trying to control important genetic resources, which originate from India. There should be no patents on seeds, nowhere in the world. For future of saving world food security it is extremely important to promote open access to seeds for farmers." said Dr. Christoph Then, Patent Expert from of Greenpeace Germany from Munich, Germany.
In view of the above Greenpeace demands that
1.Companies making such bio piracy attempt on Indian farmer's wealth of seeds and traditional knowledge should be debarred from operating in India.
2.Govt of India shall make sure on an urgent basis that no such patents have been filed in the Indian Patent office.
3.Govt of India shall move fast and file opposition in Australia and USA where such a patent is still valid and will not be revoked unless dedicated attempts are made for it.
4.Govt of India shall make explicitly clear policy of NO Patent on Life Forms in proposed amendments in the Indian patent Act.
Greenpeace further demands from European Union to go for a revision of patent law in Europe as soon as possible, to exclude patents on seeds in general. The Monsanto patent case is already the second instant that Greenpeace has exposed to be based on Bio piracy: In 2003 the European Patent Office had to revoke an patent on Mexican maize corn after opposition from Greenpeace. To prevent multinationals from further bio piracy, legal action should be taken to exclude living beings and seeds from patent ability.
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