Two years ago, we wrote about how the European Patent Organization had granted a patent on broccoli
. The patent was originally on the breeding method, but then it was ruled that the breeding methods were not covered by the patents, leaving just the basic broccoli as patented. Both the European Parliament and the German Parliament have said that the EPO should stop granting vegetable patents, but apparently it hasn't stopped. It's now issued a patent on a kind of pepper
. While the new peppers are supposedly "resistant to insects," people are pointing out that it was derived from conventional breeding -- and that's what was rejected in the broccoli case. What's amazing, by the way, is that this pepper patent appears to have gone to Syngenta, which I believe was one of the companies that fought against
the broccoli patent.
As for the European Patent Organization, it says that it's still waiting to hear about the final decision on the broccoli patent (and a tomato one) from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (I don't want to know...), and that while it finds the European Parliament's request to stop issuing such patents interesting, the European Parliament has no mandate over the European Patent Organization, so they don't really care that much. In the meantime, careful what you eat in your salad.