Neem and Sanitation
Those who religiously watch TV commercials may precisely remember soap advertisements for various products. Many advertisements had a special mentioning of neem or lemon in their smell. In India Liril, Hamam or even Himalaya like brands have shown their unbreakable affinity with lemon. It is not just about the refreshing feel of Neem, but also about the ability of neem to deal with dirt. Hence, be it body wash or a dish wash showing it connected with Neem or lemon is almost a convention in such products.
Neem in the Ancient Contexts.
The importance of neem comes from many ancient texts. Hence traditional Indian medical authorities place it at the apex of their pharmacopeia. The bark, leaves, flowers, seeds and fruit pulp are used to treat a wide range of diseases and complaints ranging from leprosy and diabetes to ulcers, skin disorders and constipation.
“Neem oil is known to be a potent spermicide and is considered to be 100% effective when applied intra-vaginally before intercourse. Intriguingly, it is also taken internally by ascetics who wish to abate their sexual desire”
According to the Upavanavinod, the ancient Sanskrit treatise that deals with forestry and agriculture, neem is a cure for ailing soils, plants and livestock. Most importantly, neem is a potent insecticide, effective against about 200 insects, including locusts, brown plant-hoppers, nematodes, mosquito larvae, Colorado beetles and boll weevils.
Intellectual Property of India
“In the last 70 years, there has been considerable research upon the properties of neem carried out in institutes ranging from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute and the Malaria Research Centre to the Tata Energy Research Institute and the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). Much of this research was fostered by Gandhian movements, such as the Boycott of Foreign Goods movement, which encouraged the development and manufacture of local Indian products. Many neem-based commercial products, including pesticides, medicines and cosmetics, have come on the market in recent years, some of them produced in the small-scale sector under the banner of the KVIC, others by medium-sized laboratories. However, there has been no attempt to acquire proprietary ownership of formulae, since, under Indian law, agricultural and medicinal products are not patentable.”
The first attempt by the United States to deal with the usefulness of Neem was in 1971 when Robert Larson imported Neem seeds to Wisconsin. For the next entire decade’s safety and performance, tests were conducted upon a component called Margosan-O. In 1985 the United States environmental protection agency granted clearance for the product. He sold this patent tour multinational chemical Corporation called W. R. Grace.
Many Indian scientists and agriculturists felt that these patents were confiscating ancestral knowledge as well as knowledge accumulated by farmers and Indian researchers over hundreds of years.
The technical board of appeal at the European Patent Office eventually revoked the patent in toto after ten years of legal proceedings (for a patent with a term of 20 years). The annulment was based on the fact that “the fungicidal effect of the neem seeds had been known in India and exploited on a large scale for centuries. Given this traditional knowledge that had existed in Indian culture for decades, the patent did not comply with the regulatory requirements for patents, namely that it should be new and an innovative application”.
This real-life case shows how patents (without an agreement on sharing the benefits) could have a negative effect on the country providing the resources (in this case, India).
All these examples prove that the story of a patent system is actually like the Jataka Katha in which an elephant is described by four to five blind people with each of them conveniently understanding their own categorical part. As described in the statement of problems, research and technology cannot be taken as a money-making field. Hence the whole regime call knowledge or intellect is not taken as a property.
One lame argument against this charge is that the United States is a very new nation in the international system. Unlike other civilizations in the world, the United States is relatively new in this world. Hence something like traditional know-how does not exist there. Maybe for this reason the US does not respect the Traditional Knowledge of other countries. But how about the other western countries? Self-possessed Myopia and lethargy are perhaps two very interdependent terms. Myopic nature takes away the creativity to preserve the property, whereas such inertia brings out nothing but lethargy and lethargy brings myopia.
This vicious circle was the attribute of India until the advent of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library which proved to be a real game-changer for Intellectual Property Rights preservation in India.