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Terminator Patent granted in Europe

Crop geek | 26.10.2005 10:16 | Bio-technology | Ecology | Technology

Patent for sterile GM seed granted in Europe

Corporates gain control over nature's seeds as
the Terminator patent is granted

Corporates gain control over nature's seeds as the Terminator patent is

Amsterdam, 25 October 2005 - Greenpeace today exposed details that the
patent for the controversial "Terminator technology" was granted in Europe
on 5 October 2005. The Terminator patent (1) has been approved for all
plants that are genetically engineered so that their seeds will not
germinate. Further research by the "Ban Terminator Campaign", a network of
farmers' unions and environmental organisations revealed that a patent was
also granted in Canada on 11 October 2005.

Plants created using Terminator technology will produce sterile seeds,
creating a monopoly and unnatural control of the seeds. Farmers will not
be able to use seeds from such plants for the following season's
cultivation.  The seeds will rot \in the soil without producing new
plants.  If this technology is introduced in crops such as soya, wheat,
canola and cotton it will force farmers to buy new seeds every year from
the same company.

"Farmers should be aware that corporations all over the world are ready to
take control of their seeds with genetic engineering (GE). These
corporations will control the entire food chain with the help of monopoly
patents and Terminator technology," said Christoph Then, Greenpeace
International GE campaigner. "We need a global ban on this technology and
on any patents on seeds. These corporate instruments will disrupt the
backbone of global food supply, making it impossible for the farmers to
reuse their own harvest for planting."

So far, the market introduction of the Terminator technology-which was
already developed about ten years ago-was successfully prevented through
worldwide protest of several groups and stakeholders. But many observers
believe that the GE industry will drive towards the legalisation of this
technology at the meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in
March next year. The grant of the patent could push even harder for market

"These new patents confirm that corporations are once again actively
pursuing Terminator technology and an international ban on the technology
is urgently needed," said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the new global Ban
Terminator Campaign, which involves farmers unions, environmental and
Indigenous peoples organisations (2).

Although the GE industry claims that Terminator technology will help
contain the spread of GE contamination, Greenpeace believes otherwise.
"GE technology can not be controlled by Terminator seeds. On the contrary,
it is likely that farmers will find their harvest being contaminated with
this Terminator technology, if introduced. This is a real threat for
estimated 80% of the farmers all over the world who save their seeds for

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses
non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems
to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

For further information, contact:
Christoph Then, Greenpeace International GE Campaign, +49 171 8780832
Judit Kalovits, Greenpeace International Communications, +31 621 296914
Lucy Sharratt, Ban Terminator Campaign, +1 613 2412267, mobile: +1 613

Notes to Editors:
(1) The Terminator patent, EP 775212B, was granted to US-based Delta &Pine
and the United States of America, represented by the Secretary of
Agriculture. According to further data bank research the patent was
already granted in similar versions in USA, further applications were
filed in Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Turkey and South

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A Question

26.10.2005 12:17

Surely there are two issues here.

The first and most straightforward is the granting of a patent. The law permits patents to be granted on new processes, machines and articles of manufacture and use. This would include the GE processing for crops. Legislation does not permit discrimiation on ethical or philosophical grounds, hence it was granted. You're not suggesting that we "censor" patents, presumably? Helloooooo, police state.

The second issue, and this is where I think we all agree, regards the actual marketing and use of the damned stuff. That is a regulatory matter where we need to keep protesting.



26.10.2005 12:48

perhaps the manufacturers should be terminated.


here we go again

26.10.2005 18:56

Notice the technique used in "amused" 's NEW REICH reply. There is the clear (and wrong in actuality) statement by him/her that the the laws controlling businesses are never drawn up on moral grounds. Blair's NEW REICH always pushes the line that ONLY individuals are expected to be controlled by morality, but that businesses are free to do whatever they like in the name of profit. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A PRINCIPLE IN ANGLO-SAXON LAW TO BACK THIS UP.

In reality, the state has the right to reject patents on all kinds of basis. That it does not tend to do so on grounds that WE consider ethical has nothing to do with any principle of law, but is entirely because of the current elite empowered to choose how the law is applied, and THEY choose personal profit over any concerns we have.

Notice how our NEW REICH idiot equates the control of undesirable patents with a police state (pulling the usual black propaganda trick of using the language of any group against that group). Refusing a patent DOES NOT UNDO THE RESEARCH OR SCIENCE. Refusing a patent DENIES ONE NAMED PARTY FROM EXCLUSIVELY BENEFITING FROM AN IDEA. Hence, if patents are refused (and, remember, in a democracy OUR WILL is supposed to be the law) on ethical grounds, the special profit is removed, and the incentive to persue such despicable work is massively reduced.


For those of you with deeper curiosity about the patent issue, go google software patents. Here you will discover a debate about the very existence of patents themselves, and how they can be used to enslave normal creative individuals to the immense financial power of giant corporations.



26.10.2005 20:09

Tell us, Twilight, how you would write into a law forbidding a patent on 'ethical' grounds? And who the arbitrator would be?

As for the article: it is making a case which is more than a little misleading.

1. Those who buy the seeds know exactly what they are letting themselves in for - caveat emptor.

2. There is nothing whatsoever to prevent a farmer preserving his present seeds and carrying on as if this patent had never been granted.

3. If he is suggesting that this gene might escape into the wild, think of (a) the resulting law suits for the company (b) point us to any research that this might happen.