Juicy News: 'The Melon patent' bursts onto the scene!
July 16, 2012
In Europe, patents relating to biotechnology is a relatively new field and only a small number of European Patents are granted for such technologies. This number is even smaller for genetically modified plants. However, a patent has been granted for a virus resistant melon plant.
In Europe, patents relating to biotechnology is a relatively new field and only a small number of European Patents are granted for such technologies. This number is even smaller for genetically modified plants. To put this into context: • Only 28% of European patent applications for biotechniology inventions are granted • Only 2.6 % of the total of all granted European Patents deal with biotechnology European Patent no EP 1962578 for Closterovirus-Resistant Melon Plants was granted in 2011, in the name of Monsanto Invest N.V. The patent relates to melon plants resistant to a virus – cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV). CYSDV attacks melons turning them yellow and reducing fruit yield. The plants are made resistant by the introduction of a gene from another melon plant by way of a conventional breeding method involving the use of a genetic marker (“marker assisted breeding”). The gene which is responsible for the resistance was first found in a melon plant in India and catalogued in 1961. It has been publically available since 1966. The patent covers the modified plant, parts of the plant and its fruits and seeds, but not the breeding process for obtaining the plant. Therefore although the melon plant was known and the gene resistant to the virus was also known, a patent was obtainable for the novel combination of the melon plant comprising a gene resistant to the CYSDV virus. The patent is of undoubted importance to businesses as it acts as a leading light to demonstrate that genetically modified plants are patentable. The patent proprietor now has a maximum 20 year monopoly right over this technology which may allow them to successfully commercialise the virus resistant melon plant. The EU directive on biotechnology states that plants are patentable if the technical feasibility of the invention is not confined to a particular plant variety i.e. The patent may only be granted if the invention can be carried out in a number of plants. The “melon” patent has been granted as it provides a technical solution to a specific technical problem, therefore should a business develop a genetically modified plant, that has a particular benefit or advantage, then the plant may potentially be patentable. Please contact Hiren Gandhi for more details [email protected] or your usual contact at Swindell & Pearson Ltd.
Swindell & Pearson has been helping businesses and individuals protect and defend their ideas, innovations and brands for over 130 years. With its head office in Derby, the firm also has offices in Stoke, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Sheffield and Burton. To find out how Swindell & Pearson can help you with any intellectual property requirements please get in touch via [email protected] or by telephone on 01332 367 051.