March 28, 2005
European Patent Office Revokes Neem Patent
The European PatentOffice in early March upheld a decision to revoke in its entirety a patent on afungicidal product derived from the seeds of the neem tree. The 10-year legalchallenge was mounted in part by the International Federation of OrganicAgriculture Movements (IFOAM), alleging the fungicidal properties of the neemtree were known for centuries in India, and the patent was illegally issued. Inits March 8 decision, the European Patent Office dismissed an appeal from theUnited States and the U.S. company Thermo Trilogy.
Linda Bullard, former IFOAM president, stated, We aredeeply gratified that through our case, the EPO has recognized the intellectualachievements of the South.We were able to establish that traditional knowledgesystems can be a means of establishing prior art and thus used to destroythe claims of novelty and inventiveness in these biopiracy patents.
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