Biotech specialists from the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys have reassured British pig farmers that a patent granted by the European Patent Office applies only to a selection process, not to a particular breed of pig’s genetic make-up, according to a press release.

The need for reassurance was prompted by a demonstration of German pig farmers outside the European Patent Office April 15 in Munich.

The German pig breeders were opposed to the patent compelling them to pay royalties to Newsham Genetics, an American biotech company that acquired rights to a patent when it took over Monsanto’s pig-breeding technology in 2007.

However, “Only the selection process is patented. Neither the gene itself, its sequence, the kit used nor any animal identified by the method are protected by the patent,” said Jon Gowshall, a member of CIPA’s biotechnology committee.