Melbourne, 0ct 21 (ANI): Indian activists have accused Colgate, the world's largest producer of toothpaste, of filing a bogus patent over a toothcleaning powder.
Activists claimed that the patent is bogus because the ingredients - including clove oil, camphor, black pepper and spearmint - have been used for the same purpose for hundreds, "if not thousands", of years on the subcontinent, reports News.com.au.
The American household goods giant was granted the patent in the US in June for what it claimed was a groundbreaking "red herbal dentifrice."
The patent, the Indian activists allege, is the latest act of "biopiracy" - whereby Western corporations plunder techniques, plants or genes used in the emerging world for centuries, for commercial profit.
"This toothpowder is classical in origin," said Devender Triguna, the president of the Association of Manufactures of Ayurvedic Medicines, an Indian body that promotes traditional remedies.
"The ingredients date back to antiquity. They have been used by the common Indian man for thousands of years. So how can it possibly be patented?" Triguna said.
Colgate did not respond to a request for comment.
However, its patent filing argues that the use of red iron oxide, which is less abrasive than ingredients in traditional toothpaste, is new. (ANI)