Tag Archive: Traditional Knowledge

ACB Submission to the Department of Trade and Industry on the Intellectual Property Amendment Bill, 20 October 2010

The Intellectual Property Amendment Bill aims to strengthen intellectual property rights relating to traditional performances, traditional work, traditional terms of expressions and traditional designs.

The Bill has been widely condemned as sounding the death knell for traditional knowledge as it attempts to provide protection for Traditional Knowledge (TK) within a western intellectual property regime, originally developed for inventions such as machines. The ACB is asking that the Bill be scrapped and that instead, a sui generis system for protection of TK is provided for.

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Major breakthrough in the fight against biopiracy: Pelargonium patents

German pharmaceutical Schwabe announces withdrawal of 5 pelargonium patents

(26.04.10) (Johannesburg, Z?rich, Bonn) The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), the Berne Declaration (BD) and the Church Development Service (EED) welcome the announcement by Schwabe today that it will not pursue five pelargonium related patents granted to it by the European Patent Office EPO). Mariam Mayet, African Center for Biosafety (ACB): ?Nevertheless, we regret that such action comes only after such patents have been challenged by us?.

Mayet announced that the Alice community’s battle will continue for appropriate relief as a result of Schwabe’s unlawful use of the community’s traditional knowledge for the production of Umckaloabo. ?The Alice Community has a real and meaningful stake in the future conservation and sustainable use of the pelargonium species in the South Africa and the protection of its Traditional Knowledge. The status quo will have to change including power relationships and ownership issues?, Mayet concluded.

?The next step will be to fight biopiracy beyond the patent system?, says Francois Meienberg of the Swiss based Berne Declaration. ?Biopiracy is about unlawful use, not only about patents. Users of biological resources and traditional knowledge must comply with the provisions of the

JOY AS PELARGONIUM PATENT REVOKED

Munich 26 January 2010. The Opposition Division of the European Patent Office (EPO) has today revoked a patent granted to Dr. Willmar Schwabe (Schwabe) in its entirety. The patent was opposed by the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) from South Africa acting on behalf of a rural community in Alice, in the Eastern Cape, in collaboration with the Swiss anti-biopiracy watchdog, the Berne Declaration.
The patent was in respect of a method for producing extracts of Pelargonium sidoides and Pelargonium reniforme to make Schwabe’s blockbuster cough and colds syrup, Umckaloabo. It was revoked because the Opposition Division found that the patent did not satisfy the requirements of the European Patent Convention dealing with inventiveness.
Both species of pelargonium are harvested from the wild in the Eastern Cape and exported to Europe for the production of Umckaloabo.

Nomtunzi Api, a representative from the Alice community, expressed elation in response to the revocation, “this is the first time that a patent is challenged successfully by Africans. It gives us hope for the future because the patent ends Schwabe’s monopoly over the use of our genetic resources and traditional knowledge.”
According to Mariam Mayet of the ACB, “Patent

Pelargonium Patent Challenge against Dr. Willmar Schwabe

Documents pertaining to the Case

1 Notice of opposition EP 1 429 795 B1 ACB Download
2 Notice of Opposition by Dr Dolder obo ACB and Berne Declaration dated 10 March 2008 Dr Older Download
3 Reply filed by Dr Willmar Schwabe dated 18 December 2008 Dr Schwabe Download
4 Summons to hearing by EPO dated 22 September 2009 EPO Download
5 Preliminary opinion by Opposition Division of EPO EPO Download
6 Reply by Dr Dolder obo ACB and Berne Declaration dated 20 November 2009 Dr Dolder Download

Background documents

1 ACB Briefing Paper: Knowledge Not For Sale: Umckaloabo and the Pelargonium Patent Challenges Download
2 ACB’s Frequently Asked Questions on the Pelargonium Patent Challenges Download

Overview

1 Fact Sheet on Pelargonium Patent Challenges, ACB, Berne Declaration EED, January 2010 Download
2 Biopiracy Under Fire: The pelargonium Patent Hearing Download

Geraniums Stop that Cough – Pelargonium Factsheet

Rural community of South Africa stands up against pelargonium-patents and biopiracy.

The Alice community, living in the Eastern Cape area of South Africa, in close collaboration with the African Center for Biosafety and supported by the Berne Declaration (Switzerland) , the Church Development Service (EED) and ?Kein Patent auf Leben? (Germany), has challenged two European patents granted to the German company Schwabe Pharmaceuticals. Both patents are based on two pelargonium species that occur in the wild in South Africa. The Patents are seen as an illegitimate and illegal monopolisation of a genetic resource from Southern Africa and the traditional knowledge of the communities in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

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Rural Community of SA stand up against Pelargonium Patents & Biopiracy

Rural community of South Africa stands up against pelargonium-patentsand biopiracy. The Alice community, living in the Eastern Cape area of South Africa, in close collaboration with the African Center for Biosafety and supported by the Berne Declaration (Switzerland) , the Church Development Service (EED) and ?Kein Patent auf Leben? (Germany), has challenged two European patents granted to the German company Schwabe Pharmaceuticals. Both patents are based on two pelargonium species that occur in the wild in South Africa. The Patents are seen as an illegitimate and illegal monopolisation of a genetic resource from Southern Africa and the traditional knowledge of the communities in the Ea stern Cape Province of South Africa.

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“Knowledge not for Sale” – A Briefing Paper by the African Centre for Biosafety

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) is a non-profi t, activist NGO based in South Africa, specialising in promoting biosafety and challenging biopiracy, agrofuels and the commodification of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge.

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Public Participation in context of Patent Laws in South Africa

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has only recently commenced its work in the fi eld of bioprospecting and biopiracy. A booklet as part of our Biosafety, Biopiracy and Biopolitics series titled, ?Bioprospecting, Biopiracy and Indigenous Knowledge: two case studies from the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa? by Koyama and Mayet, has been published. In addition, the ACB acting on the instructions of a community in the Eastern Cape Province, and supported by a Swiss based NGO, the Berne Declaration, has formally challenged two patents granted to German based Schwabe Pharmaceuticals on the grounds that the patents are illegal as they duplicate and misappropriate the traditional knowledge of communities in South Africa. The ACB is committed to the protection of South Africa’s astonishingly rich biodiversity and traditional knowledge of its communities. Part of this interest is expressed by our interrogation of the regulations that promote the exploitation and privatisation of biodiversity and knowledge.

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