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Datun Is For All
Chalk up another one for the underdogs. The revocation of the patent for the Indian neem, given in 1994 to the US chemicals major W.R. Grace, has been upheld. Last fortnight, the European Patents Office (EPO) turned down an appeal by the firm. The patent had been withdrawn some years after it was awarded, consequent to protests from the Green Group headed by ex-Belgian health minister Magda Alevoet. The EPO decision is seen as a victory for those fighting western firms patenting traditional products from the Third World for commercial exploitation. It also augurs well for India, which is opposing a slew of patents registered in the West on traditional medicine, tea and even basmati rice.