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[Duurzaamlijst] fw: 'No control on life!' - Mail-out 78

> ** Original Subject: 'No control on life!' - Mail-out 78
> ** Original Sender: GENETNL <genetnl@xs4all.be>
> ** Original Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 10:03:48 +0200

> ** Original Message follows... 

genet-news mailing list

Mail-out 78 - July 2000
'No control on life!'
by Florianne Koechlin, CH, Blueridge-Institute (www.blauen-

Dear friends

The EU-Patent-Directive 98/44/EC (adopted in May 1998 after 10 years 
of controversy) has to be converted into national patent-law by July 
30th 2000 within all EU-States. So far, to my knowledge, only Denmark 
did so. Reason: A growing new wave of opposition against this 
Directive, which opens the door for the patenting of all plants, 
animals and human parts (mail-out 59 + 62), from many EU-
memberstates, from farmer unions, Scientific Academies and NGOs.

"The guerilla against GMOs - and patenting - is gaining grounds", 
says french farmer Josè Bovè, and it's up to us to see that no other 
state is implementing this Directive. Most of the EU-States still can 
be influenced to say NO to this directive! Below informations as well 
as suggestions for actions.

The EU-Patent-Directive 98/44/EC - controversial, unfair, 

- The Governments of The Netherlands and Italy (and Norway) have 
challenged the Directive at the European Court of Justice (mail-outs 
62 and 67). Apparently a ruling cannot be expected in near future.

- The General Assembly of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg) adopted 
on June 30, 2000 a resolution calling for an immediate moratorium on 
the patenting of genes and living organisms. It considers the EU-
Directive, which allows such patents, as "inappropriate" and calls on 
the 15 EU countries to renegotiate this Directive.

- France: On 13 June , France's Bioethics Committee laid down its 
position against the implementation under French law of the European 
Patent Directive. Furthermore France hosted an enlarged meeting of 
the G8 Research Ministers (USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Russia , Japan, 
Canada, France) + those of Brazil, China, Mexico and India on June 24/
25. The meeting closed with no common declaration, but there was a 
general consensus against the direct patenting of human genes, as a 
"common heritage of humankind".

- Italy: An Italian NGOs coalition started a big mail of postcards to 
President Prodi (see postcard added). The french Greens took up this 
idea. In Parliament the debate about the Directive has been suspended.

- Other EU-member-States: Denmark: The Parliament adopted the 
Directive with a small majority. Germany: No decision yet, Parliament 
meets in September again, earliest probable decision-date=October. 
Farmers Union, Medicine-Association (Deutsche Aerztekammer) and 
Research-Association (Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft DGF) express 
great doubts. The Netherlands: Government made an appeal to the 
European Court of Justice to halt the implementations till their 
decision is made. Belgium: Decision postponed. Doubts expressed, 
building a working group with NGOs. Austria: Discussion after summer-

And furthermore:

- The "All European Academies (ALLEA, the umbrella organisation of 
European Scientific Academies) opposes patents on human genes: "The 
human genome sequence itself must be freely available to all 

- A french NGO coalition ( including OGM Dangers, Ecoropa, SEL, CPE) 
launched an appeal against the patenting of living organisms and the 
monopolisation of genetic resources.

What you can do:

- Launch a postcard-action (The italian postcards are also available 
in french and english, info: Fabrizia Pratesi, Comitato Scientifico 
Antivivisezionista; csafin@iol.it)

- Launch an appeal (see french appeal: http://www.ecoropa.org/patents)

- Lobby your government, MEPs; go public. There are 3 excellent 
critical documents on the EU-Patent-Directive: The Norwegian 
challenge to the Directive; a report by ASEED, a report by Greenpeace 
Germany (all available at above address or at nina@aseed.antenna.nl)

The European Patent Office (EPO): waiting, following a zigzag course

EPO's policy on patenting living beings seems rather inconsistent. A 
Diplomatic Conference of all member-States will be held on November 
20/21 - but apparently they do not want to touch the hot issues of 
biotech-patents. (We tried to get invited, but were turned down. Main-
argument: The Conference will be dealing only with technical details, 
without biotech-issues. Perhaps we should try to get in and get these 
issues on the agenda).

Meanwhile, there are 14 patent-oppositions still pending (3 of them 
'dead'); some others were turned down, and some we won,eg:

- Oncomouse-patent: Still pending. The oral hearing ended 1997 with 
an eclat, and no result. Since then: Silence.Our patent-attourney 
Rolf Wilhelms requested with a legal challenge to get a fast decision 
on this landmark patent (first animal ever patented in Europe). 
Meanwhile, the EPO granted some patents on transgenic animals.

- Patent for genetic engineering of "gallinaceous birds" (chicken, 
turkeys, geese, ducks..): Oral hearing will be on Dec.8th (The patent-
holder already announced his absence; opponent= No patents on 

- Patent for Monsanto's RR-soya: Opposition was turned down in April 
2000, even though the patent clearly covers plant-varieties.

- Patent for death-drug for humans: The EPO granted this patent for a 
drug killing mammals (including humans) in 1996. Now the opposition 
was successful: The EPO ruled that it was contrary to "ordre public" 
or morality (Art. 53.a) to use the drug to carry out euthanasia on 
humans. This is the first time since very long that Art. 53.a. was 
applied by EPO-officials. Conclusion: EPO's strategy appears to be : 
wait and see how the implementation of the EU-Directive is 
proceeding. A reason more for us all to get active now.


- Moratorium for Terminator-technologies requested.. At the Fifth 
Conference of the Parties (COP-5) to the Biodiversity Convention 
(CBD) in Nairobi end of May the member States recommend a de facto 
moratorium for all Terminator-related technologies (so called 
GURTs*): "...that, in the current absence of reliable data on genetic 
use restriction technologies without which there is an inadequate 
basis on which to assess their potential risks, and in accordance 
with the precautionary approach, products incorporating such 
technologies should not be approved by Parties for field testing 
until appropriate scientific data can justify such testing, and for 
commercial use until appropriate, authorized and strictly controlled 
scientific assessments with regard to, inter alia, their ecological 
and socio-economic impacts and any adverse effects for biological 
diversity, food security and human health have been carried out in a 
transparent manner and the conditions for their safe and beneficial 
use validated."

*GURTs (genetic use restriction technologies) make it possible to 
"switch" on or off different traits in a crop with the application of 
specific chemicals. Terminator is a specific GURT which renders seeds 
sterile in the second generation.

- Conference "The Patented Hunger" in Berne, Switzerland, Oct. 13, 
2000. The influence of patents on the food security of the south. A 
conference about the patenting rules of WTO, EU, and Switzerland. 
What are the effects? Are there alternatives? (organised by SWISSAID 
and Berne Declaration)

- Gagatu: Camp and international Congress on genetic engineering in 
agriculture and food, 27.8. - 3.9.2000 in Koeln, Germany. (info: 



|                   GENET                     |
| European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering |
|                                             |
|             Hartmut MEYER (Mr)              |
|               Kleine Wiese 6                |
|           D - 38116 Braunschweig            |
|                 Germany                     |
|                                             |
| phone: +49-531-5168746                      |
| fax:   +49-531-5168747                      |
| email: genetnl@xs4all.be                    |

>** --------- End Original Message ----------- **

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"Nee, ik zal niet zwijgen.
Zelfs als ze me
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de loop op de slaap
tot zwijgen willen brengen
me bang willen maken
met bedreigingen........"-



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