It’s the battle of the toothpaste titans: In the red corner we have Colgate Palmolive, the the world’s largest producer of toothpaste, who have taken out a patent for an Indian herbal toothpaste. In the blue corner we have the Ayurvedic medicine manufacturers who are disputing the patent, calling it an act of biopiracy. Who will strike the knock out blow?

The president of the Association of Manufacturers of Ayurvedic Medicine says that the patent is bogus because the ingredients date back to antiquity and have been used by the traditionally for thousands of years–clove oil, camphor, black pepper and spearmint.

Colgate Palmolive claims that their groundbreaking “red herbal dentifrice” uses red iron oxide, which is different than the ingredients in the traditional toothpaste.

It’s a battle of big business: The toothpaste sales to a huge country like India could be worth billions of dollars. But to the Indians it is a battle for their culture. Who owns India’s folk medicines and how can you patent something that has been around for thousands of years?

More info: Daily Mail

Colgate Palmolive

via Treehugger