No to Peppers – but you can keep Tomatoes and Broccoli

Plants and animals exclusively obtained by essentially biological processes are no longer patentable.

In a much-awaited decision, the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office yesterday settled several issues concerning both lawmaking and interpretation of the law.

It adopted a dynamic interpretation of the exception to patentability under Article 53(b) of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and held that the non-patentability of essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals also extends to plant or animal products that are exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process.

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