Patent Controversy

In 1995 the European Patent Office (EPO) granted a patent on an anti-fungal product, derived from neem, to the US Department of Agriculture and multinational W. R. Grace and Company. The Indian government challenged the patent when it was granted, claiming that the process for which the patent had been granted had actually been in use in India for over 2000 years. In 2000 the EPO ruled in India’s favour but the US multinational mounted an appeal claiming that prior art about the product had never been published in a scientific journal. On 8 March 2005, that appeal was lost and the EPO revoked the Neem patent rights keeping the tree free of these patent restrictions.

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