Seed belongs in the hands of the people, not the patent holder.
It’s come to OSA’s attention that several small organic seed companies in the U.S. received a letter from BASF notifying them of utility patent claims on the multinational’s vegetable seed holdings. The letter describes several broad traits, such as tomatoes with pink fruits and drought tolerant plants. What’s odd is that the companies that we’ve heard from have no history in doing business with BASF and interpreted the letter as an intimidation tactic, since patent claims are so broad in nature. You can read more about the issues in this op-ed that OSA recently published in Civil Eats.
Restricting people from continuing our co-evolution with plants for food security is an attack on humanity today and on future generations. We have seen, in the last 100 years, a complete shift in the management of seed as a public resource to one that is largely privatized. Organic Seed Alliance and others continue to raise the alarm about the consequences of utility patents on seed. We believe utility patents are the wrong intellectual property rights (IPR) tool for seed and that other more reasonable tools and models exist.
OSA has launched the Seed Patent Watch project to convene conversations, share educational resources, and identify injustices in the patent system. Join us in advocating for policies that protect seed stewards and in taking actions against restrictive forms of intellectual property rights that privatize the living, natural resource of seed.