European Patent Office revokes "pelargonium extract" patent

Munich, 26 January 2010 -- At a hearing in opposition proceedings, the European Patent Office (EPO) has decided to revoke a patent for a method for producing extracts of pelargonium plants.

After hearing the parties, the EPO opposition division concluded that the patent should be revoked because it did not fulfil the inventive-step requirements of the European Patent Convention. The division also considered the parties' arguments on other grounds for opposition, and conducted an in-depth discussion of aspects of the biodiversity conventions. The reasons for its decision, including a full assessment of the facts and arguments, will be published in a few weeks' time.

The patent (EP 02777223 B1) relates to a method for extracting substances with medical properties from Pelargonium sidoides and Pelargonium reniforme, plants which originally came from southern Africa.

In March 2008, it was opposed by a number of companies and non-governmental organisations.

The opposition division's decision is appealable, and would then be reviewed at second instance by an EPO technical board of appeal.

Media contacts:

Rainer Osterwalder
Director, Media Relations
European Patent Office
Tel. +49 89 2399 1820
Mobile: +49 (0) 163 8399 527

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