The Pepper Case

The Pepper Case

Biotech and plant breeding have always been important and contentious Intellectual Property issues in Europe. Right from the start, the European patent convention – or the EPC – exempted plant and animal varieties. The EPC also ruled out “essentially biological processes” from patenting, but at the time no one knew what these process exactly encompassed. In the last years, the EPO’s boards of appeal have addressed these questions in a number of high-profile cases with colourful and evocative names such as Tomato I, Broccoli I, Tomato II and Broccoli II ! Now, the Enlarged Board of Appeal is apparently spicing it up by turning this all around with Pepper, decision G3/19, - which may have an impact far beyond plants and animals.

Listen to NLO’s podcast “The Pepper Case”! NLO expert Dietmar Hertsen, Chemical engineer, biotech expert and trainee patent attorney, and Bart Swinkels, a partner and European patent attorney at NLO talk about the issues and consequences of this exceptional case.

Listen to the podcast: The Pepper Case - Patent Case Law | Podcast on Spotify

Read more on this subject: IAM Life Sciences 2019: Pepper plants lead to hot decisions and patentable subject matter | NLO

NLO Life Sciences Team
NLO Life Sciences patent attorneys have a background as researcher at a biotech company or research institute. They specialise in molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, plant and animal genetics, gene therapy, genome editing, vaccines, antibody and RNA technology and bioinformatics. Professional knowledge in these life sciences fields is necessary to professionally and successfully conduct patent applications or FTO analyses. For example, it is important to research whether your invention can and may be patented. Is there a specific regulation relating to genetics, improvement and test phases which affects the patent application procedure? In view of the substantial costs involved in research and development, it is particularly important to have a patent attorney who understands the life sciences market thoroughly.

With over ten attorneys in the Netherlands and Belgium, NLO serves a wide range of clients. Multinationals, SMEs, start-ups, hospitals, universities and other (public) research institutions know where to find NLO’s Life Sciences specialists. Meet our plant and animal genetics experts Willemijn Gommans and Bart Swinkels during CROP IB.

Visit for more information

Stay up to date with the latest news!

Newsletter subscribe