Protection and Promotion of Traditional Medicine - Implications for Public Health in Developing Countries
(2002; 131 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentThe South Centre
View the documentPREFACE
View the documentINTRODUCTION
Open this folder and view contentsI. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TRM
Open this folder and view contentsII. RATIONALE FOR PROTECTION
Close this folderA. Patents
View the documentA.1. Novelty
View the documentA.2. Inventive step
Close this folderA.3. What can be patented?
View the document(i) Natural products
View the document(ii) Extracts and formulations
View the document(iii) Combinations and preparations
View the document(iv) Production and extraction processes
View the document(v) Methods for treatment and diagnostics
View the document(vi) Uses of known products
View the document(d) Patenting of TRM in practice
View the documentB. Trade Secrets
View the documentC. Trademarks
View the documentD. Geographical Indications
Open this folder and view contentsIV. POLICY OPTIONS: PROTECTING AND PROMOTING TRM
View the documentV. IPRs AND PUBLIC HEALTH
View the documentVI. CONCLUSIONS
View the documentREFERENCES
(ii) Extracts and formulations

While, as mentioned, the patentability of natural products may be limited by patent rules, it may be possible to claim protection on extracts or formulations (i.e. a mixture of an active ingredient with certain excipients) of natural products.

Examples of patents of this type include US 4178372 on hypoallergenic stabilized aloe vera gel: US 4725438 on an aloe vera ointment; US 4696819 on material extracted from coca leaves; and EP 0513671 on “commiphora mukul” extracts.

Of course, the granting of these kind of patents depends on the extent to which the patentability requirements are met, a debatable issue when relatively common processes of extraction or simple formulations are claimed. Claims of this type may be used, in some instances, to bypass the prohibition on the patentability of substances found in nature, or to overcome objections based on lack of novelty. A patent granted on a formulation, however, would not prevent communities or other parties from using and commercializing the same product, in its natural form or with a different (not infringing) formulation.

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