Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hot peppers deterring insects but encouraging anti-patent crowd-funding?

In an article in "Intellectual Property Today" in June 2003 titled "Good Night Gracie," LBE noted

On May 12, [2003] the New York Times discussed U.S. 6,523,298, n16 which claims the use of hot pepper extract (capsicum) in water solution to kill ants and termites. Jim Johnson of Seedman of Gautier, Mississippi has been selling powder from capsicum annum for dilution in water to kill insects for about ten years. n17

Endnote 16: Figure 1 of the '298 patent has an error in chemical formula similar to the methylene tribromide error of the Schon/Lucent patent applications. The principal active ingredient of hot peppers is capsaicin (trans-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-noneamidc, C18H27NO3, CAS 404-86-4), which is practically insoluble in cold water. With a side chain comprising 10 carbons, capsaicin is soluble in organics, and a "hot pepper wax" is commercially marketed for use on insects (e.g., Bonide Products; Jerry Baker; separately NIT/NouGuard). Also, capsaicin is a topic of current interest in the medical literature: E. Prescott, Science, 2003, 300, 1284; "Spicing Up Medicine," Science, 2003, 299, 1289; H. Rashid, et al., J. Pharmacology Exp. Therapeutics, 2003, 304, 940

Endnote 17: On his website, Jim teaches using 4 tablespoons of pepper powder, 1 tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with one gallon of water, steeping overnight, straining and spraying on insects. The Pacific Northwest District of the American Rose Society also notes that hot pepper sprays are insecticides and there has been experimental research on extract of capsicum frutescens as a natural insecticide in Natal, Botswana and Zambia and traditional uses in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Uganda. Separately, there is a report that Grady Glen, of Texas A&M, used Habaneros on wood to deter termites.

IPKat has a post in August 2014: "Cultivated capsicums!" Peppers resist insect, breeders resist patent

which includes the text

This Kat has received information concerning the publication in a national Dutch newspaper of a double page item calling for crowd-funding of opposition proceedings against a European patent. The patent in question, granted last year to Syngenta, relates to EP2140023 relating to insect-repellent pepper plants.

Separately, Endnote 11 of "Good Night Gracie" includes the text:

John P. Walsh and Wei Hong, "Secrecy is increasing in step with competition," Nature, 2003, 422, 801-802. In a cross-section of biologists, mathematicians, and physicists, the authors noted that willingness to talk about research had gone from 50% in 1966 to 26% in 1998. One notes that the Rosalind Franklin/DNA episode had already occurred by 1966. The authors suggested that focus on commercialization [of academic work] as the cause of secrecy is misplaced. While I would agree that informal industry/academic collaborations actually foster greater openness, I would suggest that industrially-sponsored academic programs do enhance secrecy, although the data indicate separately that there is already a high baseline of secrecy created by intra-academic competition. See L. B. Ebert, Implicitly Zurko, Intellectual Property Today, p. 22, July 1999. As one footnote, note that the pivotal "research exemption" case of Madey v. Duke University, 307 F.3d 1351 (CAFC 2002), arose from intra-academic competition and disagreement, although the legal decision may impact industrial/academic interaction. See also, Rebecca Eisenberg, "Patent Swords and Shields," Science, 2003, 299, 1018 ["As universities have become increasingly aggressive as patent owners, they have compromised their claim to disinterested stewardship of knowledge in the public interest."] and John P. Walsh, Wesley M. Cohen and A. Arora, "Working through the Patent Problem," Science, 2003, 299, 1021. Separately, note that Genentech sued Columbia University in April 2003. See Paul Elias, AP, Suit Against Columbia University Highlights Issues of University Patents, April 28, 2003. Separately, note the issues with the Ponikau/Mayo patents such as US 6,207,703 as discussed in Peter Landau, Critics Turn Up Noses at Mayo's patent for inflamed sinus cure, Wall St. Journal, May 1, 2003.

Recall an argument made more than 50 years earlier, as discussed by IPBiz:

In that 1945 period, physicist Philip Morrison noted that the desire to patent results would spread from industrial labs to the universities and destroy the traditional free cooperation of science, an argument re-cycled into the 21st century.

Citing "Good Night Gracie" is


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