HL Deb 11 March 1997 vol 579 cc21-2WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their view of the United States patent originally taken out by the United States biotechnology firm Agracetus, which has recently been taken over by Monsanto, and which claims to cover all genetically engineered cotton.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

In the UK, patents may be granted for inventions which meet the statutory requirements of novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. In addition the claims of the granted patent must be clear and supported by the description. The granting of patents in other countries is subject to similar conditions.

The Government are aware that some commentators consider that the claims of the Agracetus patent are too broad to be valid. Since it was granted in the United States, the Government are not planning to take any action in relation to the patent itself. It is, however, open to anyone who feels that the patent should not have been granted to seek re-examining under US procedures. US patents do not have any effect in the United Kingdom.