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Giving Americans ‘Bhang’ For Their Buck

30 July 2010

Scott Van Rixel, an American chocolatier, is trying to do something Western businesses have often failed to accomplish: trademark a common Indian word.

Mr. Van Rixel’s product is called “Bhang: The Original Cannabis Chocolate”—or it will be if the trademark application he filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in May is given the green light. Self-described as a “well-established chocolate master” in New Mexico, in the southwestern U.S., Mr. Van Rixel’s newest chocolaty creation is laced with a form of cannabis, or marijuana, that doesn’t give its user a high.

………….Past patent and trademark attempts that have hinged on generic Indian words or goods have run aground under the foreign equivalence doctrine. In 1997, the Indian government successfully challenged a U.S. patent of turmeric as a wound-healing agent because, the government said, the remedy was an Indian discovery. In 2005, the European Patent Office dismissed a patent application for a fungicide derived from the seeds of the neem tree after evidence revealed Indian farmers had been using the tree’s oil as fungicide “for a long time.”

It’s conflicts such as these that the Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology, aimed to avoid with its “traditional knowledge” database of Indian biological and medical practices. In 2006, the Indian government approved providing access to the digital database to international patent offices, according to the database’s web site.

So far, India’s traditional knowledge database comprises nearly a quarter-million entries. Among them: bhang.

“It is useful in the treatment of orchitis, erysipelas, gout, otalgia, toothache, coryza and cattarh, haemoptysis, mastitis, cough/bronchitis, metralgia, diphtheria, psychosis/insanity/mania,” the entry for bhang reads…….

Read complete news item: http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2010/07/30/giving-americans-bhang-for-their-buck/

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Written by csirindia

July 30, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Posted in CSIR

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