b'A balanced framework of IP protection for plant related innovationsRESOLVING THE QUESTION WHETHER PLANTS EXCLUSIVELY OBTAINED BY ESSENTIALLY BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES CAN BE PATENTED.BY: SZONJA CSRGAND DOMINIC MUYLDERMANSO n 14 May 2020, the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office published its opinion in case G3/19. The Enlarged Board adopted a dynamic inter-pretation of the law and concluded that plants (and animals) exclusively obtained by essentially biological processes are not patentable. In its opinion the Enlarged Board came back on its previous decision in the Broccoli II case (G 2/12) in which it had stated that even if an essentially biological process is not patentable itself, the patentability of the products needs to be assessed on its own merits. The so-called dynamic interpretation of Article 53(b) EPC, adopted in the recent opinion, allowed the Enlarged Board to take into account developments that took place since the adoption of the previous decision. Besides considering the numerous amicus curiae briefs received in the case, the Enlarged Board reviewed its own case law concerning Article 53(b) and considered the legal and political developments since 2015. Among those, the interpreta-tive notice issued by the European Commission in 2016 regarding the interpretation of the EU Biotech Directive 98/44; the adoption of Rule 28(2) by the Administrative Council of the EPO in 2017 and the changes that a number of EPC countries made to their national patent laws to exclude explicitly products obtained by essentially biological processes from patentability were considered. Whereas it confirmed its previous case law regarding the interpretation of Article 53(b) reached in cases G 1/98, G 2/07 and G 1/08 as well as in case G 2/12, the Enlarged Board confirmed that the develop-ments that took place since the decision in G 2/12, in particular the adoption of Rule 28(2) by the Administrative Council of the EPO, justify a dynamic interpretation of the article, and con-cluded that Rule 28(2) provides for the final interpretation of Article 53(b), which it endorsed. It further confirmed July 1, 2017 as the start of application of Rule 28(2)1.This decision finally brings to a close the legal and political discussion on the question of patentable subject matter, which is highly appreciated by the European seed sector. At the same time, the seed sector wants to emphasise that innovation in plant breeding continues to be critical both for breeders and farmers; it allows to do more with fewer inputs and develop improved plant varieties that better meet consumer demands and expec-tations, providing safe food, that is affordable, diverse and nutri-34IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'