G 0002/12 () of 25.3.2015

European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:EP:BA:2015:G000212.20150325
Date of decision: 25 March 2015
Case number: G 0002/12
Referral: T 1242/06, T 1242/06
Application number: 00940724.8
IPC class: A01H 5/10
Language of proceedings: EN
Distribution: A
Download and more information:
Decision text in EN (PDF, 209.513K)
Documentation of the appeal procedure can be found in the Register
Bibliographic information is available in: EN
Versions: Published
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.
Board: EBA
Headnote: -
Relevant legal provisions:
European Patent Convention Art 52
European Patent Convention Art 53
European Patent Convention Art 54
European Patent Convention Art 56
European Patent Convention Art 57
European Patent Convention Art 64(2)
European Patent Convention Art 69
European Patent Convention Art 100(a)
European Patent Convention Art 112(1)(a)
European Patent Convention Art 125
European Patent Convention Art 150(2)
European Patent Convention Art 164
European Patent Convention Art 177
European Patent Convention R 26
European Patent Convention R 27(b)
European Patent Convention R 27(c)
European Patent Convention R 28(c)
European Patent Convention 1973 Art 52(4)
European Patent Convention 1973 Art 53(b)
European Patent Convention 1973 R 23b(5)
European Patent Convention 1973 R 23c
European Patent Convention 1973 R 23d
Rules of procedure of the Enlarged Board of Appeal Art 13
Rules of procedure of the Enlarged Board of Appeal Art 14(2)
Transitional provisions (EPC): Decision AC of 28 June 2001 on the transitional provisions under Art 7of the Act revising the EPC Art 001(1)
Decision AC of 7 December 2006 amending the Implementing Regulations to the European Patent Convention 2000 Art 002
Conventions: VCLT Art . 4, 31(1), (3), 32
International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of 2 December 1961, as revised on 10 November 1972, on 23 October 1978, and on 19 March 1991, UPOV Convention Art . 2 UPOV Convention 1961 Art 014(1), (2) UPOV Convention 1991
Convention on the Unification of Certain Points of Substantive Law on Patents for Invention, Council of Europe, of 27 November 1963, Strasbourg Convention Art 002
Law of the European Union: Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions, Biotech Directive Art 2, 3, 4, 6(2)
Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 of 27 July 1994 on Community plant variety rights, CPVR Regulation Art 005(3), 13(2)
Law of the Contracting States
Germany: Patentgesetz 1936 (2013), § 2a
France : Loi no 2004-1338 relative à la protection des inventions biotechnologiques Art L. 611-19
The Netherlands: Rijksoctrooiwet 1995 (2014) Art 003
Austria: Patentgesetz 1970 (2014), § 2(2)
Switzerland: Bundesgesetz über die Erfindungspatente 1954 (2012), § 2(2)
United Kingdom: Patents Act 1977 (2014), Section 76a and Schedule A2
Keywords: admissibility of referrals by the board of appeal - yes
point of law of fundamental importance - yes
effect of Article 53(b) EPC on the allowability of a product claim or a product-by-process claim directed to plants or plant material
essentially biological process for the production of plants
interpretation of exclusion from patentability
rules of interpretation
dynamic interpretation - no
legal erosion of the exception to patentability - no

1. The exclusion of essentially biological processes for the production of plants in Article 53(b) EPC does not have a negative effect on the allowability of a product claim directed to plants or plant material such as a fruit.

2. In particular, the fact that the only method available at the filing date for generating the claimed subject-matter is an essentially biological process for the production of plants disclosed in the patent application does not render a claim directed to plants or plant material other than a plant variety unallowable.

3. In the circumstances, it is of no relevance that the protection conferred by the product claim encompasses the generation of the claimed product by means of an essentially biological process for the production of plants excluded as such under Article 53(b) EPC.

Cited decisions:
G 0001/83
G 0005/83
G 0001/88
G 0002/88
G 0001/90
G 0006/91
G 0009/92
G 0004/93
G 0004/95
G 0001/98
G 0003/98
G 0004/98
G 0002/02
G 0003/02
G 0001/03
G 0002/03
G 0001/04
G 0002/06
G 0001/07
G 0002/08
G 0002/10
J 0008/82
J 0004/91
J 0010/98
T 0128/82
T 0150/82
T 0144/83
T 0219/83
T 0248/85
T 0385/86
T 0148/87
T 0320/87
T 0129/88
T 0019/90
T 0356/93
T 1173/97
T 0866/01
T 0315/03
T 0154/04
T 0788/07
T 1854/07
T 2239/08
Citing decisions:
T 1242/06
T 1988/12
T 2235/13
T 1325/15
T 2343/16

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EPC Articles

EPC Implementing Rules

EPO Guidelines - F The European Patent Application

Offical Journal of the EPO

Case Law Book: I Patentability

Case Law Book: III Amendments

Case Law of the Enlarged Board

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