In June 2017, the European Patent Office (EPO) decided that no more patents would be granted on vegetables and fruit that originate from classical breeding techniques. However, the Technical Chamber of Appeal of the EPO concluded that this prohibition is in conflict with the European Patent Convention. According to current regulations, patents may still be granted on plant properties.
This is a huge setback, according to Dutch MEP Jan Huitema, since the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European countries have spoken out against this in order to prevent fruits and vegetables from falling into the hands of a small number of large companies and stifling innovation.
Huitema: "It is absurd to grant patents on fruit and vegetables. Companies should not get a monopoly on our food." This is why Huitema submitted a resolution that received an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament. "I now want to look with the Commission on how we can close this gap in the regulations."