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22.11.2019 |

MEPs slam gene-editing court ruling as damaging for SMEs

It is much easier for larger companies to implement new GM legislation, but it’s the smaller ones that are most affected by the recent gene-editing ruling, the chair of the agriculture committee (AGRI) MEP, Norbert Lins, told EURACTIV.com at the sidelines of a recent plant breeding conference.

His comment was in reference to the July 2018 EU Court decision that organisms obtained by mutagenesis plant breeding technique are GMOs and should, in principle, fall under the GMO Directive.

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However, the claim that SMEs hold a larger market share of NBT patents is widely refuted by NGOs.

Speaking to EURACTIV on the sidelines of the event, Jan Plagge, president of EU organic farmers (IFOAM EU), said that there are various types of patents and that although larger corporations may not hold as many of the patents for finished products, they do hold the majority of patents for gene-editing techniques.

This, he said, makes it “hard for small and medium enterprises to use this technology” and therefore the argument that “regulation is preventing SMEs from strengthening their innovation and product development is not really valid”.

He added that “four or five” large companies have the largest share of the seed market and that they secured “a lot of licenses and patents on techniques”.

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