France, Germany, and Spain filed a suit against Monsanto last year because the company tried to patent a non-GM tomato that was resistant to a common fungal disease (EP1812575). Now, the European Patent Office (EPO) is revoking another patent Monsanto has held on non-GM melons.

Though the company claims to have developed a melon (EP1962578) that is resistant to plant viruses, the fruit has these qualities naturally, and has been detected in Indian melons for centuries.

The patent was granted previously by the European Patent Office (EPO) even though the EU patent law does not allow patents on plant varieties and processes for conventional breeding.

Many plants are bred without genetic engineering to have qualities that make them resistant to disease, and Mother Nature equips many varieties with healthy immune systems that fend very well for themselves when plants are given healthy, organic soil. In fact, the better the soil, the more robust a plant usually is at fighting diseases and pests.

International Year of Soils says:

Soil organic matter – the product of on-site biological decomposition – affects the chemical and physical properties of the soil and its overall health. Its composition and breakdown rate affect: the soil structure and porosity; the water infiltration rate and moisture holding capacity of soils; the diversity and biological activity of soil organisms; and plant nutrient availability.”

Monsanto has continually tried to take over seed (food) production, throughout the world, even buying up heirloom seed companies to control the food supply. But many countries have seen through their tactics and refuse to plant GM food. Russia and Bhutan are good examples. Vladimir Putin says that Russia will be the world’s number one exporter of organic, non-GM food.

The Indian government supported the opposition from ‘No Patents on Seeds,’ which asked for Monsanto’s melon patent to be revoked.  The government also sent a letter requesting the patent to be revoked.

The letter was sent to the EPO just one day before the hearing, explaining that Monsanto’s patent on a non-GM melon was an act of biopiracy – violating Indian law and international treaties.

Christoph Then from the international coalition of ‘No Patents on Seeds,’ said:

“The patent was based on essentially biological processes for breeding and claimed plant varieties. This was a clear violation of European patent law. It is a huge success that the patent has been revoked! Nevertheless, the general problem cannot be resolved simply by filing oppositions at the EPO. Politicians need to make sure that laws are applied properly and prohibitions are no longer ignored.”

The opposition was filed by Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (Germany), Bund Naturschutz in Bayern (Germany), Berne Declaration (Switzerland), Gesellschaft für Ökologische Forschung (Germany), Greenpeace (Germany), No Patents on Life! (Germany), Verband Katholisches Landvolk (Germany) and Foundation for Future Farming.

This article originally appeared at Natural Society.


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