Over the years, we've seen a number of stories of big companies going into various countries, finding "traditional" and "herbal" remedies, and then figuring out ways to patent them. The latest such example, sent in by sinsi
, involves Colgate "patenting" (in the US) a tooth-cleaning powder
based on a recipe that has been used in India for "thousands" of years according to officials there. The patent itself (7,736,629
) is for a "red herbal dentrifice" and, if you read the claims, it seems clear that they're just patenting a "recipe" of sorts, which alone seems ridiculous enough. But when you add in the fact that it's been used so widely in traditional Indian society, it gets even sillier. The whole thing appears to be yet another example of companies trying to use patent laws to lock up widely known knowledge... with the Patent Office assisting.