The European Commission has published a Commission Note on the interpretation of articles of Directive 98/44 (the Biotech Directive). This note regards the patentability of plants and animals (or their parts) that are obtained by means of essentially biological processes, such as crossing and selecting. The EU Commission takes the view that the EU legislator’s intention when adopting Directive 98/44 was to exclude from patentability products (plants/animals and plant/animal parts) that are obtained by means of essentially biological processes.
CGN welcomes this statement, as it may mean (depending on future decisions of the European Patent Office) that plants and animals containing traits isolated from its gene bank collections can no longer be patented, if only essentially biological processes have been used to obtain such plants and animals. This then means that all genes and traits present in those particular CGN collections will remain available for users without legal restrictions based on patents, for breeding through crossing and selecting (essentially biological processes).