Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Patent challenge based on traditional knowledge

Activists have challenged a European patent on a method of extracting an anti-bronchitis drug from plants, says the Daily Dispatch. They want to prove that the method is based on ancient African knowledge. The dispute, which is before the European Patent Office in Munich, involves the southern African plant umckaloabo ( Pelargonium sidoides). Dr Willmar Schwabe of Karlsruhe, Germany, has patented a factory process to obtain the extract. Michael Frein, of the German Lutheran Church Development Service, said the process was effectively the same as the traditional one used in the Eastern Cape town of Alice and in Lesotho to make an anti-bronchitis and anti-tuberculosis remedy. Mariam Mayet of the African Centre for Biosafety said the company had no right to such a patent. But Traugott Ullrich, a spokesperson for the Schwabe company, said umckaloabo had been in use in Europe for more than 100 years, and the company's extraction process was completely unlike the traditional one.

1 comment:

kompoStella said...

hello there -
thanks for this post. i've noticed the P.sidoides discussion in the papers but this is a nice resume.
would it be ok with you if i link to it from my blog? i think it is important that we pelargonium freaks become more educated around the fact that some of the species are threatened etc.