Pelargonium saved. For Now.

I know I’m a bit late with this post, but I think it’s important anyway.

Remember a while back I posted about the small Eastern Cape community of Alice who were challenging the German pharma giant Schwabe over their patenting of a remedy made from the roots of pelargonium sidoides and pelargonium reniforme –  that’s geraniums to you and me.

Well, in a thrilling case of little-guy-from-SA-backwater-takes-on-giant-baddies-and-wins, the European Patent Office last month revoked the  patent that Schwabe had applied for, which would have protected a method of processing the roots of the plants to get the desired extract.

According to this article in the Dispatch, a local Eastern Cape paper, the Germans are looking to fight the ruling, and, considering the resources they have available, they might win. But, I think this sets a great precedent, and hopefully more test cases like this one will appear, so we can work out a safe, innovative traditional knowledge and patent policy for this country.

Pic: Geranium by jurek d. on Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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2 thoughts on “Pelargonium saved. For Now.

  1. Absolutely. The Hoodia case was, I think the first time we really sat up and realised the incredible resources we have in this country, and the need to protect them, not necessarily for money, but becuase they’re such an important part of our natural heritage.
    Hopefully, this will be the start of good things.

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