The International Licensing Platform Vegetable has as a main objective to guarantee worldwide access to patents that cover biological material for vegetable breeding.
There has been increasing discussion about patents on vegetable plant traits over the past years, especially in Europe. Proponents of such patents claim that they foster innovation, knowledge-sharing and continued investments in research and development. Opponents argue that such patents are unnecessary because of the intellectual property protection offered by plant breeders’ rights and that patents impede the work of breeders because they can no longer gain access to biological materials, or can do so only after a delay or at a high cost.
This debate is highly relevant for breeding companies that develop new plant varieties and hence lay the foundations for the world's food supply. As the political and social debate continues, eleven companies, which comprise both listed companies and family businesses from Switzerland, Germany, Japan, France and The Netherlands, have worked together to establish the International Licensing Platform Vegetable with an aim to provide plant breeders around the world with faster, more efficient and cost effective, guaranteed access to crucial vegetable plant traits that are currently covered by patent claims by ILP member companies. Nowadays 15 companies are member of ILP Vegetable.
The ILP Vegetable provides a straightforward, easy way for vegetable breeders to license the traits they need at a fair and reasonable cost so they can bring new products to the market that meet demands from growers and consumers. The members of the ILP Vegetable will make all of their patents related to vegetable plant traits accessible to their fellow members under the conditions of the ILP.
The goals of ILP Vegetable are:
- to guarantee access to patents covering biological material for vegetable breeding,
- to safeguard that incentives to innovate, which depend on the availability of patent protection, remain intact.