India Beats Colgate-Palmolive and UK Pharma Firm in Separate Intellectual Property Cases

The August 2, 2015 article in The Times of India was entitled “India wins patent war on hair-loss formula.”  The opponent was the United Kingdom-based Pangaea Laboratories Limited. The firm had filed the patent application in February, 2011. India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) of its Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) then made a submission to the European Patent Office “managed to prove that turmeric, pine bark and green tea were being used as a treatment for hair loss in Indian systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Unani since ancient times.”

ColgateAs the article notes, this followed news just days earlier that the CSIR-TKDL “frustrated a move by Colgate-Palmolive to patent a mouthwash formula containing herb ‘Jayaphal’ (Nutmeg) extract.” That story was reported here (and accompanied by the ironical image attached to this article). The policing agency “submitted proof in the form of references from ancient books, which said the herb and its extracts of Myristica Fragrans were used for oral diseases in Indian systems of medicine.”  A notice at Bullfax states that “the back-to-back victories in thwarting the attempts of the two big foreign entities (Colgate-Palmolive and Pangaea Laboratories Limited) adds another feather to the cap of TKDL’s which has tasted success now in about 200 such cases without incurring any cost to the public exchequer.”

Comment: What person does not have in them a sense of justice – or at least a resident rooter for the underdog – to enjoy these outcomes of successful protection of the commons? This is quite a track record for the agency, established in 2001.

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