NFU welcomes patents deal
THE NFU has welcomed the agreement of the biotechnology patenting directive by the European parliament, which will give protection across Europe to inventions involving animals and plants.
A vote to accept the proposal without amendment means that official approval can now be secured by the council of ministers, with the new law coming into force in 2001.
It will be a boost to the bio-technology industry which has been developing farming products, such as genetically modified maize that is resistant to disease and weed-killers.
In the future, research companies will be able to secure commercial protection for the whole of the EU with one application, instead of approaching every national patent office.
NFU food science adviser Vernon Baker said: "It is a good thing to have one directive that standardises all the patenting regulations for the different EU countries."
Dr Baker also welcomed the provisions that would ban patents that caused proven suffering to animals, unless they created medical and veterinary benefits.