The EU's Green Party, India-based Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) successfully argued that the anti-fungal properties of neem were part of the traditional knowledge of Indians, and that the patenting corporation, WC Grace, was therefore engaging in "biopiracy."
Jamais goes on to propose that "Traditional Knowledge Databases are a good start to the documentation of medical, food, architectural and cultural knowledge of different societies, and can help Western political institutions recognize claims of 'prior art' in biopiracy patent disputes."
Juxtapose this with Lawrence Lessig's comment from a few days ago (March 7):
So despite the fact that the EU Parliament has rejected software patents for Europe, and despite the fact that there is not a qualified majority of member states supporting it, the EU Council has now endorsed their draft of the "Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions."
This struggle continues to astonish me. There's no good economic evidence that software patents do more good than harm. That's the reason the US should reconsider its software patent policy.
But why Europe would voluntarily adopt a policy that will only burden its software developers and only benefit US interests is beyond me.
The puzzle pieces are not combining to reveal anything like a coherent picture. It's mildly heartening in a way, even if it is mostly just frustrating.