Greenpeace Blocks EU Patent Office | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 06.04.2004
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Greenpeace Blocks EU Patent Office

Protesting a patent on human embryos, the environmental group Greenpeace barricaded the entrance to the European Patent Office in Munich.

About 100 Greenpeace activists blocked the doors to the European Patent Office in Munich on Monday to protest what they called "the first patent on human life." With huge ice blocks containing frozen baby dolls, the environmental organization sought to raise awareness for patent EP 1121015 covering the "Method for Vitrification of a Biological Specimen." Dating back to Nov. 26, the patent legalizes the "breeding of embryos, sperms and human eggs," according to Greenpeace, which sees its issue as breaking one of science's last taboos. Christoph Then, the organization’s expert for genetic technology, said the patent would mean the "industrial production" of human beings. According to the environment group, the first "baby patent" does not just deal with the technical methods, as claimed by the European Patent Office, but with the embryo itself. In the patent text human embryos are explicitly put at the same level as those of animals. The experiments leading up to the patent used embryos from hamsters, mice and humans, says Greenpeace. (

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