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.