View Full Version : Nigella sativa


Abi
09-03-14, 03:19 PM
Nigella sativa -- more commonly known as fennel flower -- has been used as a cure-all remedy for over a thousand years. It treats everything from vomiting to fevers to skin diseases, and has been widely available in impoverished communities across the Middle East and Asia.

But now Nestlé is claiming to own it, and filing patent claims around the world to try and take control over the natural cure of the fennel flower and turn it into a costly private drug.

Tell Nestlé: Stop trying to patent a natural cure!

In a paper published last year, Nestlé scientists claimed to “discover” what much of the world has known for millennia: that nigella sativa extract could be used for “nutritional interventions in humans with food allergy”.

But instead of creating an artificial substitute, or fighting to make sure the remedy was widely available, Nestlé is attempting to create a nigella sativa monopoly and gain the ability to sue anyone using it without Nestlé’s permission. Nestlé has filed patent applications -- which are currently pending -- around the world.

Prior to Nestlé's outlandish patent claim, researchers in developing nations such as Egypt and Pakistan had already published studies on the same curative powers Nestlé is claiming as its own. And Nestlé has done this before -- in 2011, it tried to claim credit for using cow’s milk as a laxative, despite the fact that such knowledge had been in Indian medical texts for a thousand years.

Don’t let Nestlé turn a traditional cure into a corporate cash cow.

This isn't surprising, considering Nestle has a long track record of not caring about ethics. After all, this is the corporation that poisoned its milk with melamine, purchases cocoa from plantations that use child slave labor, and launched a breast milk substitute campaign in the 1970s that contributed to the suffering and deaths of thousands of babies from poor communities.

But we also know that Nestlé is sensitive to public outcry, and that it's been beaten at the patent game before. If we act fast, we can put enough pressure on Nestlé to get it to drop its patent plans before they harm anyone -- but if we want any chance at affecting Nestlé's decision, we have to speak out now, while its patent claims are still under review.

Unmanagable
09-03-14, 03:54 PM
Yeah, that nestle ceo is a real prick, in my opinion.....but then again, it seems that's a rampant issue when we talk about the almighty dollar:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-privatisation-of-water-nestle-denies-that-water-is-a-fundamental-human-right/5332238

http://action.storyofstuff.org/sign/nestle_water_privatization_push/

TygerSan
09-03-14, 04:11 PM
It still puzzles me. How the hell can you patent a *flower*?? An extract made from the flower, maybe. The process by which one extracts the active ingredient from the flower, sure. But the flower itself?????

I guess if one can patent a gene, one can patent anything.

addthree
09-03-14, 05:15 PM
Those *******s.

namazu
09-03-14, 06:57 PM
It still puzzles me. How the hell can you patent a *flower*?? An extract made from the flower, maybe. The process by which one extracts the active ingredient from the flower, sure. But the flower itself?????

I guess if one can patent a gene, one can patent anything.
On a related note, but one that may be relevant to any efforts to patent the flower [edit: or compounds naturally occurring therein] in the U.S.... At least some gene patents have been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court (see ASSOCIATION FOR MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY ET AL. v. MYRIAD GENETICS, INC., ET AL., 2013 (http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-398_1b7d.pdf) ruling re: BRCA genes).

A brief history/overview of the intellectual property issues for genes/genomes (with relevance to other natural stuff) is here (http://www.genome.gov/19016590).

For its part, here's Nestlé's take on the issue (http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=site&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nestle.com%2Faboutus%2Fask-nestle%2Fanswers%2Fis-nestle-trying-to-patent-fennel-flower-nigella-sativa). Patent law is pretty complicated, and this statement isn't super-specific, so I can't claim to understand the scope of the proposed patent or its implications. But I would think that the process of the natural compound interacting with human opioid receptors would fall under "natural phenomenon" and therefore be unpatentable, unless there's more to it, or some specific preparation / delivery system that Nestle devised.

I have no idea how other intellectual property systems address these things (nor how the systems of patents worldwide interact). I vaguely think that the EU has long prohibited patents on genes occurring in nature, but I could be making that up... [EDIT: Here's what the European Patent Office (EPO) says about biotechnology (http://www.epo.org/news-issues/issues/biotechnology.html), which covers this discussion.

I'm inferring that if Nestle is trying to get an EU patent, they may be pursuing it under the "solved technical problem" exception: "Discoveries (e.g. the mere discovery of natural substances, such as the sequence or partial sequence of a gene) are not patentable. However, if an inventor provides a description of the technical problem they are intended to solve and a technical teaching they move from being a discovery to being a patentable invention (Art. 52(2)(a) EPC). " ? That seems pretty broad and open to interpretation.