It was reported on the EcoWatch website on 27th January 2016 that the European Patent Office had revoked a false patent on genetically modified (GMO) melons held by Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, after a public hearing in Munich, Germany, on January 20th 2016.
The Europe-based coalition No Patents on Seeds spearheaded the opposition. According to a press release from the organization, Monsanto claimed that 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. Using conventional breeding methods, this type of resistance had been introduced from an Indian melon to other melons and had then been patented as a Monsanto “invention.” No Patents on Seeds argued that Monsanto’s patent was awarded to the company even though European patent law did 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.
Opponents feared that by arming itself with this patent, Monsanto “could block access to all breeding material inheriting the virus resistance derived from the Indian melon.”
According to research from No Patents on Seeds, approximately 100 new patent applications from agribusinesses had been filed in just 2015 alone. These patents are for carrots, potatoes, brassica plants, maize, melons, pepper, rice, lettuce, soybeans, spinach, tomatoes, wheat and onions.
As plant biotechnology continued to advance, they said, these patents highlighted the increasingly controversial topic of corporations patenting - and arguably controlling - the world’s plants and seeds for financial profit.
Monsanto Slammed for Violating European Patent Law for GMO Melon (27 January 2016)