|European Case Law Identifier:||ECLI:EP:BA:2010:G000108.20101209|
|Date of decision:||09 December 2010|
|Case number:||G 0001/08|
|IPC class:||A01H 5/10|
|Language of proceedings:||EN|
|Download and more information:||
|Title of application:||Method for breeding tomatoes having reduced water content and product of the method|
|Applicant name:||State of Israel - Ministry of Agriculture|
|Opponent name:||Unilever N.V.|
|Headnote:||The questions of law referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal are answered as follows:
1. A non-microbiological process for the production of plants which contains or consists of the steps of sexually crossing the whole genomes of plants and of subsequently selecting plants is in principle excluded from patentability as being "essentially biological" within the meaning of Article 53(b) EPC.
2. Such a process does not escape the exclusion of Article 53(b) EPC merely because it contains, as a further step or as part of any of the steps of crossing and selection, a step of a technical nature which serves to enable or assist the performance of the steps of sexually crossing the whole genomes of plants or of subsequently selecting plants.
3. If, however, such a process contains within the steps of sexually crossing and selecting an additional step of a technical nature, which step by itself introduces a trait into the genome or modifies a trait in the genome of the plant produced, so that the introduction or modification of that trait is not the result of the mixing of the genes of the plants chosen for sexual crossing, then the process is not excluded from patentability under Article 53(b) EPC.
4. In the context of examining whether such a process is excluded from patentability as being "essentially biological" within the meaning of Article 53(b) EPC, it is not relevant whether a step of a technical nature is a new or known measure, whether it is trivial or a fundamental alteration of a known process, whether it does or could occur in nature or whether the essence of the invention lies in it.
|Relevant legal provisions:||
|Keywords:||Admissibility of referrals - yes - Applicable law
Article 33(1)(b) EPC and substantive patent law - Protection of "legitimate" expectations
Rule 26(5) EPC and Article 2(2) Biotech Directive as exhaustive definitions - yes - Crossing and "selection" natural phenomena by way of a legal fiction - no
Legislative history of Article 2(2) Biotech Directive - Contradictory meaning of the provision - No guidance on the interpretation of the term "essentially biological process for the production of plants in Article 53(b) EPC"
Meaning of that exclusion: production of plants vs. plant varieties - production vs. "ZÃ¼chtung" and "obtention" (not decided)"
Interpretation of 'essentially biological':
The Article 52(4) EPC 1973 analogy (no) - the computer-related inventions approach(no) - the T 320/87 approach - criteria linked to the state of the art (no)
The systematic context of Article 53(b) EPC - the legislative history of the SPC and the EPC 1973
Conclusions from legislative history:
Exclusion of processes based on sexual crossing of whole genomes and on subsequent selection of plants (yes)
Addition of technical step serving the performance of the process steps - not sufficient to escape exclusion
Inclusion within that process of a step by itself modifying the genome of the plant produced - process not excluded from patentability
Date retrieved: 30 December 2018
38 references found.Click X to load a reference inside the current page, click on the title to open in a new page.
EPC Implementing Rules
EPO Guidelines - G Patentability
Offical Journal of the EPO
Case Law Book: I Patentability
Case Law Book: III Amendments
XCLR III A 5.2 in time from which a new decision which deviates from existing practice becomes generally applicable