Broccoli is a human invention

Broccoli is not an invention

"We are concerned here with a clarification both at the European level, because the Commission would have to act, with regard to the organic patent directive, as well as here in Germany that we do not apply any patents to livestock and crops, to the goods themselves We want to preserve the biological diversity of the plants and we need unhindered access for animals and plants from the breeders and the farmers. "

Says Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner, who also refers to the preservation of creation. The juice and sweetness of a melon, the taste of broccoli or cauliflower, these are ultimately not human inventions, but the legacy of all the peoples of this earth. Breeders can improve the properties of plants, for example making the melon more juicy or sweeter through crossing and selection, a conventional method. But that's not enough for a patent, explains SPD MP Matthias Miersch:

"As the German Bundestag, we have a clear resolution across all parliamentary groups, according to which we do not want any patenting of conventionally bred plants and animals. And we experience every day that applications are made to the European Patent Office that go exactly in that direction. that the German federal government has not done anything to concretise national patent law and thus also to have an impact on the European level. In this respect, the will of the legislature has not been fulfilled at the moment. "

The EU patent office has already granted over 1000 organic patents, most of them for genetically modified seeds, says Miersch:

"And we see the practice that patents are distributed by a patent office, which is also financed by collecting fees on granted patents, so that no independence is granted from my point of view. So we have many, many construction sites and the federal government works on these construction sites unsatisfactorily. "

For years only non-governmental organizations such as "Kein Patent auf Leben" or Misereor or Greenpeace observed the licensing practice of patents. Now the Ministry of Agriculture is giving in: Since the beginning of last year it has been setting up a bio-monitoring system that is supposed to record all patents in the agricultural sector.

The critics warn: If more and more plants belong to large agricultural corporations like Monsanto, humanity will become dangerously dependent. The legal departments of the agricultural multinationals systematically sound out the scope for interpretation in European patent law. For example, no cultivars that affect a certain plant variety should be protected, explains Harald Ebner from the Greens:

"But what happens in reality? Patents are granted precisely on plants and animals bred in this way, and then not on the breed, or not on the variety, but on a level below, for example the variety, or on the same level as a plant species or There you can see that a formulation is deliberately and deliberately misinterpreted from a legal point of view, but which was meant differently by the legislators. "

With its wait-and-see attitude towards such practices, the federal government apparently wants to keep all doors open. Almost two million people have just signed an international petition against Monsanto's conduct.

While Aigner officially rejects the patent on life, which is extremely unpopular among the population, the ministry also emphasizes the extraordinary importance of innovations, especially in agriculture, and calls for regulations for the protection of intellectual property. Head of Division Barbara Kosak from the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection knows that some things can go wrong:

"I think it's a highly technical and extremely special area of ​​law. In the end, you could say you can put up a lot of speed-30 signs - there will be a lot of people driving around town at 60."