KWS adjusts IP position in line with "Breeder's Choice": Focus on breeders' freedom of choice

Einbeck, April 25, 2023

To master the challenges of the future with climate change, food security and the transformation to a more sustainable agriculture, innovation in plant breeding for the development of new plant varieties is more important than ever. Access to innovation on fair and reasonable terms while ensuring adequate intellectual property protection is key.

Conventional breeding but also the use of new technical processes such as mutagenesis (including Genome Editing) are of great importance for the future development of strong and sustainable varieties. Thus, intellectual property rights in plant breeding should accommodate for both approaches and provide breeders with the choice of how they want to work in the future. Therefore, the principle of "Breeder's choice" is at the heart of the KWS IP Position, which was recently revised.

To reliably secure this freedom of choice in breeding, KWS has committed to review future patent filings very closely to ensure that conventional breeding options are still possible without the need to take licenses. In addition, KWS pursues a responsible strategy regarding patenting basic foods and animal feed.

In this context, KWS points out that it has narrowed the effect of a recently granted patent on digestibility in corn (EP3560330) in the sense of the above-mentioned aspects by means of "non-asserts" (a type of free license). More details including respective template agreements are available in the catalog section on the KWS "TraitWay" website.

KWS has been offering access to patented traits in Europe at fair conditions for some time already via KWS TraitWay and the industry licensing platforms ACLP for field crops and ILP for vegetables.

“KWS supports the development of more comprehensive and industry-wide solutions to facilitate access to patented traits through seamless technology transfer in plant breeding. We are convinced that innovation needs an open and transparent approach to technology and knowledge sharing to meet future challenges," says Claudia Hallebach, Head of Global Legal and IP at KWS.

About KWS*

KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. Over 5,000 employees* in more than 70 countries generated net sales of around €1.5 billion in the fiscal year 2021/2022. A company with a tradition of family ownership, KWS has operated independently for 165 years. It focuses on plant breeding and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, vegetables, oilseed rape and sunflower. KWS uses leading-edge plant breeding methods to continuously improve yield for farmers and plants’ resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. To that end, the company invested more than €285 million last fiscal year in research and development.
*excl. seasonal workforce

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Claudia Hallebach
Claudia Hallebach
Head of Global Legal and IP
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Gina Wied
Gina Wied
Lead of Corporate Communications
Global Marketing & Communications
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