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IP-Watch interns talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

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The Politicization Of The US Patent System

The Washington Post story, How patent reform’s fraught politics have left USPTO still without a boss (July 30), is a vivid account of how patent reform has divided the US economy, preempting a possible replacement for David Kappos who stepped down 18 months ago. The division is even bigger than portrayed. Universities have lined up en masse to oppose reform, while main street businesses that merely use technology argue for reform. Reminiscent of the partisan divide that has paralyzed US politics, this struggle crosses party lines and extends well beyond the usual inter-industry debates. Framed in terms of combating patent trolls through technical legal fixes, there lurks a broader economic concern – to what extent ordinary retailers, bank, restaurants, local banks, motels, realtors, and travel agents should bear the burden of defending against patents as a cost of doing business.


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    EPO Still Granting Patents On Conventional Vegetables; ‘Just Following Rules’

    Published on 24 May 2013 @ 12:19 am

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The European Patent Office is continuing to grant patents on conventional plants despite demands from the European Parliament and the German Parliament that the patent office refrain from granting such patents, the coalition of non-governmental organisations called “No patents on seeds” said in a release.

    According to the release, the EPO has granted patent EP2140023 to Syngenta, which says the invention concerns “novel pepper plants resistant to insects, and to seeds and fruits of said plants. The present invention also relates to methods of making and using such plants and their fruits.”

    No patents on seeds said this case relates to pepper plants, such as chili, derived from conventional breeding and follows two precedent cases challenged at the EPO (for tomatoes and broccoli) for which decisions are still pending (IPW, IP-Watch briefs, 13 June 2012).

    In the group’s view, the EPO has a biased way of interpreting the text of the European Patent Convention, which prohibits patents on plant and animal varieties. The coalition is concern, it said, “that patents will foster further market concentration, making farmers and other stakeholders in food supply even more dependent on just a few big international companies.”

    It called for a revision of the European Patent Law “to exclude breeding material, plants and animals and food derived therof from patentability.” They launched an online petition, which they claim has received over 2 million signatures.

    EPO: Stop Us Before We Patent Again

    Meanwhile, EPO Deputy Spokesperson Rainer Osterwalder told Intellectual Property Watch that according to the European Patent Convention (EPC), plants fulfilling the patentability criteria such as novelty and inventive step are patentable. What is not patentable in Europe are essentially biological breeding methods for plants, such as marker-assisted breeding, he said.

    A question remains on the plants issued from those processes as nothing in the current rules indicates how patentable plants should be obtained, he added. This question needs to be clarified by the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal, in the context of the “broccoli” case, to which it has yet to give an answer.

    In the meantime, in the case of patent EP2140023, the EPO had to follow the rules indicated by the EPC, Osterwalder said. The EPO values and respects the opinion of the European Parliament and keeps members informed of progress on those cases, he said, but a resolution of the Parliament is not a legally binding one and cannot supersede the EPO rules, which have been established by its member states.

     

    Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. EPO Still Granting #Patents On Conventional Vegetables; ‘Just Following Rules’ | Blog by Tech Corp Legal LLP | Patent | Technology | Law | Business | Social Media says:

      [...]  EPO Still Granting #Patents On Conventional Vegetables; ‘Just Following Rules’ To read more Click Here:  [...]

    2. EPO Still Granting Patents On Conventional Vegetables; ‘Just Following Rules’ – Intellectual Property Watch | Legal Planet says:

      [...] Continue reading here: CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE [...]

    3. Tim Roberts says:

      If the vegetables are conventional, how come patents were granted on them? I suspect they were new and not obvious. If patents are generally a good idea and promote technical development, it’s not clear why they should be banned for useful new plants. As to the objection that the method of producing them is conventional, this is confused thinking. Once you know where to go, getting there may well be straightforward.


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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