The NEEM patents and biopiracy.
On May 9th and 10th the European Patent
Office in Munich will conduct an "Oral Proceeding" to hear the arguments
of both sides in the case of a patent granted to the United States Department
of Agriculture and the multinational corporation W.R. Grace for a fungicide
derived from the Neem, a tree indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. This
patent - one of many on products of the tree - was legally challenged in 1995
by Vandana Shiva of India, Magda Aelvoet (now Belgian Environment Minister),
and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, who claim
that it has been used for centuries in India and exemplifies how the patent
system is being used to transfer biological wealth from the South into the
hands of a few corporations and scientists (for details see Background Paper
on the Neem Patent Challenge at http://www.ifoam.org).
On the occasion of the NEEM Patent Hearing
Monday, May 8th, at 11:00 a.m.
At the Schweisfurth Stiftung in the Schloss Nymphenburg
MUNICH (Schloss Rondell 1 Süd)
- Dr. Asfar H. Jafri, Research Foundation for Science, Technology,
and Ecology (India)
- Ranjith de Silva, (Sri Lanka),International Federation of Organic
Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)
- Steve Emmott, the Greens in the European Parliament (Brussels)
- Florianne Koechlin, European Coordination No Patents on Life! (Switzerland)
- Beth Burrows, the Edmonds Institute, Seattle, Washington, USA
A delegation of farmers and scientists from India knowledgeable in the
use of neem will also be on hand to demonstrate a variety of locally produced
Vandana Shiva and Magda Aelvoet, Belgian Minister for Consumer Protection,
Public Health, and the Environment, will be present for the Oral Proceeding,which
begins on May 9th at 9 a.m. in the PschorrHöfe of the European Patent
Office, Room 3468, Bayerstrasse 34, D-80335 Munich.
The press is welcome to attend.
- Interviews with Vandana Shiva, Magda Aelvoet and other participants in the
Neem proceeding may be arranged by calling +(49 0) 172 896 38 58.
- At 12:30 on May 9th there will be a symbolic event on the Neem
Patents in front of the PschorrHöfe involving a real neem tree.
- At the conclusion of the Oral Proceeding there will be a second Press Conference
on the premises of the PschorrHöfe. Journalists wishing to be informed when
this happens may leave their coordinates with the organizers.
- Photos from the Press Conference and action may be obtained from... [agency,
or Ruth supply name and number].
- A support event will take place in Paris on May 10th, organized
by Ecoropa. Contact ... for further information.
Representatives of the following organizations will be represented at the
- Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology;
- the Greens in the European Parliament;
- Kein Patent auf Leben;
- European Coordination No Patents on Life!;
- Erklärung von Bern;
- the Edmonds Institute.
For further information, contact:
From May 6th - 10th: +(49 0)172 896 38 58
Before and after, telephone one of the Opponents:
- Dr. Asfar Jafri at +9111 696-2589 (India)
- IFOAM at +49 6853 5190 (Germany)
- Steve Emmott at +322 284-2026 (Belgium)