ETC Group News Release
Monday, January 10, 2005
ETC Group's first Communique of 2005 focuses on Syngenta, the global gene giant that ranks first in agrochemicals and third in seeds. Syngenta has a patent pending in 115 countries that, if approved, would give it a multi-genome monopoly over at least 40 plant species.
Calling Syngenta's patent claims "an unprecedented bid for multi-genome monopoly," ETC Group (pronounced "et cetera") has written to the European Patent Office (EPO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) demanding that the patents be rejected. Simultaneously, ETC Group has written to the Director-General of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and to the Chair of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) asking them to oppose Syngenta's applications, "on the grounds that they represent a direct threat to world food security and an attack on public agricultural research," said ETC Group's Research Director, Hope Shand.
In a Communique released today, ETC Group reveals how Syngenta's public image as the "nice" multinational belies its actual activities. "No more 'Mr. Nice Guy,'" Kathy Jo Wetter at ETC's US office insists, "Syngenta is muscling its way toward control of dozens of plant species even as it appears to make nice with FAO and CGIAR as the good guy Gene Giant. If Syngenta is granted this patent, it will make Monsanto look like Santa Claus."