02.08.19

Gemini version available ♊︎

Teff is Not an Invention. Teff is Nature.

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last year: Stop Patenting Life, Nature is Not an Invention

Teff

“Eragrostis tef, also known as teff, Williams’ lovegrass or annual bunch grass, is an annual grass, a species of lovegrass native to Ethiopia and Eritrea.” Wikipedia on Teff

Summary: The absurdity of ‘owning’ nature or things that are found in nature (and can reproduce) demonstrated again in Europe

Ethiopia’s Addis Standard has just published this new article about the European Patent Office (EPO) and the teff controversy we alluded to in the past. This is what we ought to call patent “piracy”. When the patents themselves are an act of piracy… patents on life/nature, privatising what’s in the Commons. Ancient seeds… suddenly ‘owned’ by foreign countries or colonialism guarded by patent monopolies that the nation is blackmailed to recognise (by WTO, WIPO and so on).

As Addis Standard put it, “it seems highly unlikely the EPO would have granted the patent if they had this information on file when reviewing the patent application.”

Did they have sufficient time to assess all the facts however? Nowadays examiners complain that they cannot do their work properly. To quote Addis Standard:

On May 19, 2018, the Ethiopian government gave its Attorney General the green light to initiate an international arbitration proceeding against a company holding a series of European patents directed at the grain teff. And on November 21, 2018, a court in The Hague invalidated two of the company’s Dutch patents. For most observers, the news that some obscure company with little connection to Ethiopia, the home of teff, has patented the naturally occurring grain, and as such possesses the legal rights to exclude others from making, using, selling or importing the grain, its flour and any food product made from it, may seem entirely odd. For most Ethiopians, who have cultivated the grain and consumed it as the staple diet injera for millennia, however, the patenting is nothing short of daylight robbery, an act of cultural appropriation made even more objectionable by the whiff of colonial effluvium emanating from the European (Dutch) citizenship of the patentee, Health and Performance Food International B.V. (HPFI). In view of this, it may come as a surprise to many that Ethiopia shares at least some of the blame for HPFI’s patenting of teff, as HPFI was motivated to do so by its mid-2000s agreement with the Ethiopian government to commercialize teff in the western world as a gluten-free food product.

Now that the government is finally moving to address the issue, this article aims to provide some clarity on how the patents were obtained, the scope of the intellectual property (IP) coverage they provide, the invalidation of the Dutch patents and the legal recourse available for the Ethiopian state to invalidate the rest of the patents.

[...]

Increasing the quality of teff by storing it after harvesting, however, is nothing new (even by July 2003 when the first patent application was filed), as any teff farmer in Ethiopia can attest. In Ethiopia, farmers usually store a given season’s harvest for sale and/or consumption during the coming season, as it is common knowledge in the country that when possible, teff should be stored after harvesting to improve its quality. As such, what the inventor claimed, and for which he received patent protection, was neither novel nor inventive, as it has been known and practiced in Ethiopia for millennia. Granted, all that knowledge may not have been documented, which is what patent examiners usually depend on when considering a patent application. All the same, it seems highly unlikely the EPO would have granted the patent if they had this information on file when reviewing the patent application. The EPO had in fact rejected the application initially, but relented only when the patent applicant argued that the minimum falling number of 250 was a “clearly novel and inventive” feature in view of what was known at the time,[8] which, as we just saw was not the case.[9]

This kind of patent is why many people protest outside the EPO. Surely it can’t be overlooked or ignored when EU officials too oppose this.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 19/10/2021: GNU dbm 1.22 and Godot 3.4 RC 1

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] [Teaser] GitHub an Expensive and Dangerous Trap (Also: Misogyny Hub)

    The ongoing Microsoft GitHub exposé will give people compelling reasons to avoid GitHub, which is basically just a subsidised (at a loss) trap



  3. Norway Should Have Voted Against Benoît Battistelli's Illegal (Anti-)'Strike Regulations' at the European Patent Office

    Benoît Battistelli‘s EPO faced no real and potent opposition from Norwegian delegates, who chose to abstain from the vote on the notorious and illegal so-called ‘Strike Regulations’ (they’re just an attack on strikes, an assault on basic rights of labourers)



  4. Links 19/10/2021: Sequoia PGP LGPL 2.0+, Open RAN Adoption

    Links for the day



  5. [Meme] [Teaser] Benoît Battistelli, King of Iceland

    Later today we shall see how the current deputy of the head of the EPO‘s overseeing body was in fact likely rewarded for her complicity in Benoît Battistelli‘s abuses against EPO staff, including staff from Iceland



  6. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, October 18, 2021



  7. Links 19/10/2021: MyGNUHealth 1.0.5 and Ubuntu 22.04 Now Developed

    Links for the day



  8. [Meme] [Teaser] Thrown Under the Bus

    Tomorrow we shall look at Danish enablers of unlawful EPO regulations, Jesper Kongstad and Anne Rejnhold Jørgensen



  9. The World Needs to Know What Many Austrians Already Know About Rude Liar, the Notorious 'Double-Dipper'

    Today we publish many translations (from German) about the Austrian double-dipper, who already became the subject of unfavourable press coverage in his home country; he’s partly responsible for crushing fundamental rights at the EPO under Benoît Battistelli‘s regime



  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper

    Friedrich ‘Rude Liar’ Rödler is notorious in the eyes of EPO staff, whom he was slandering and scandalising for ages while he himself was the real scandal



  11. Links 18/10/2021: Porteus Kiosk 5.3 and Ventoy 1.0.55

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] [Teaser] More to Life Than Patents

    Greedy sociopaths oughtn’t be put in charge of patent offices; this is what’s dooming the EPO in recent years (all they think about is money



  13. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part II — The Campaign Against GPL Compliance and War on Copyleft Enforcement

    Microsoft contemplated buying GitHub 7.5 years ago; the goal wasn’t to actually support “Open Source” but to crush it from the inside and that’s what Microsoft has been doing over the past 2.5 years (we have some details from the inside)



  14. Links 18/10/2021: Linux 5.15 RC6 and 7 New Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  15. [Meme] The Austrian School of Friedrich Rude Liar

    With reference to the Austrian School, let’s consider the fact that Friedrich Rude Liar might in fact be standing to personally gain by plundering the EPO‘s staff by demonising them while helping Benoît Battistelli crush them



  16. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 17, 2021



  17. How (Simple Technical Steps) to Convince Yourself That DuckDuckGo is Just Spyware Connected to Microsoft, Falsely Advertised as 'Privacy'

    In recent days we published or republished some bits and pieces about what DuckDuckGo really is; the above reader dropped by to enlighten us and demonstrate just how easy it is to see what DuckDuckGo does even at the client side (with JavaScript); more people need to confront DuckDuckGo over this and warn colleagues/friends/family (there’s more here)



  18. Austria's Right-Wing Politicians Displaying Their Arrogance to EPO Examiners

    The EPO‘s current regime seems to be serving a money-hungry lobby of corrupt officials and pathological liars; tonight we focus on Austria



  19. [Meme] Friedrich Rödler's Increasingly Incomprehensible Debt Quagmire, Years Before EPO Money Was Trafficked Into the Stock Market

    As it turns out, numerous members of the Administrative Council of the EPO are abundantly corrupt and greedy; They falsely claim or selfishly pretend there’s a financial crisis and then moan about a "gap" that does not exist (unless one counts the illegal gambling, notably EPOTIF, which they approved), in turn recruiting or resorting to scabs that help improve ‘profit margins’



  20. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…

    Prior to the Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos regime the EPO‘s hard-working staff was slandered by a corrupt Austrian official, Mr. Rödler



  21. Links 17/10/2021: Blender 2.93.5, Microsoft Bailouts

    Links for the day



  22. Links 17/10/2021: GhostBSD 21.10.16 and Mattermost 6.0

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 16, 2021



  24. [Meme] First Illegally Banning Strikes, Then Illegally Taking Over Courts

    The vision of Team Battistelli/Campinos is a hostile takeover of the entire patent system, not just patent offices like the EPO; they’d stop at nothing to get there



  25. Portuguese Network of Enablers

    Instead of serving Portuguese people or serving thousands of EPO workers (including many who are Portuguese) the delegation from Portugal served the network of Campinos



  26. In Picture: After Billions Spent on Marketing, With Vista 11 Hype and Vapourware, No Real Gains for Windows

    The very latest figures from Web usage show that it’s hardly even a blip on the radar; Windows continues bleeding to death, not only in servers



  27. [Meme] [Teaser] Double-Dipping Friedrich Rödler

    As we shall see tomorrow night, the EPO regime was supported by a fair share of corrupt officials inside the Administrative Council



  28. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Portugal

    How illegal “Strike Regulations” and regressive ‘reforms’ at the EPO, empowering Benoît Battistelli to the detriment of the Rule of Law, were ushered in by António Campinos and by Portugal 5 years before Campinos took Battistelli’s seat (and power he had given himself)



  29. Links 16/10/2021: SparkyLinux Turns 10 and Sculpt OS 21.10

    Links for the day



  30. “Facebook Whistleblowers” Aside, It Has Been a Dying Platform for Years, and It's Mentally Perverting the Older Generation

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts