Patents and trademarks on: :: CUPUAÇU :: AÇAÍ :: COPAÍBA :: ANDIROBA :: AYAHUASCA :: MORE CASES...

:: March 9th 2004
Rio Branco – Acre - Brazil: Amazonlink celebrates first “Cupuaçu victory” with Capoeira and Rock

:: March 1st 2004:
Trademark "Cupuaçu" cancelled in Japan

[Latest updates and results of our campaign are available only in portugese]

Aldeias Vigilantes


Biopiracy means not only the smuggling of diverse forms of flora and fauna, but mainly the appropriation and monopolization of traditional population's knowledge and biological resources. Biopiracy causes the loss of control of traditional populations over their resources. In the Amazon region this is not a new phenomenon!
This joint knowledge must not be seen as a commodity that can be sold or bought.
In the last years, through the advance of biotechnology, the facilitating of registering international trademarks and patents as well as international agreements on intellectual property, such as TRIPs, the possibilities of such exploitation have multiplied.

However, there are also efforts to revert this situation:

  • In 1992, during Eco-92 in Rio de Janeiro, the Convention on Biological Diversity was signed. The Convention aims, among others, at the regulation of access to biological resources and at sharing in a fair and equitable way the results of research and development and the benefits arising from the commercial utilization of genetic resources with the communities.
  • In 1995, Senator Marina Silva (from 2003 on, Minister of Environment of Brazil) presented a law project to create legal mechanisms for practical arrangements according to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • In December 2001, shamans of various indigenous peoples from Brazil formulated the Letter from São Luis do Maranhão, an important document for the World Intellectual Property Organization, questioning all forms of patents that derive from traditional knowledge.
  • In may of 2002, ten years after Eco-92, the workshop "Growing Diversity" took place in Rio Branco, Acre. The event was organized by the international NGO GRAIN in partnership with the NGO GTA-Acre. 100 representatives of farmers, fishermen, indigenous people, extrativists, craftsmen and NGOs of 32 countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, participated in this event. They formulated the "Commitment of Rio Branco", alerting the world on the serious threat of biopiracy and requiring, among others, that life patents and any form of intellectual property on biodiversity and traditional knowledge should be banned.

However, these efforts seem shy, compared to the greed of the speculators and multinational companies that continue to take over and monopolize the wealth of the Amazon.

These pages: has been establishing contacts between rural producers in the Amazon and buyers of sustainable products abroad. In the course of these activities we encountered obstacles due to trademarks and patents on certain products. These products are considered great potentials for the sustainable development of the Amazon region. The finding of these facts led us to the publication of these pages.

The objectives of these pages are:

  • To alert the public about some new cases of patents and trademarks, such as Cupuaçu, Andiroba and Copaíba. We consider these cases worrisome because of their negative impacts on the traditional communities commercial activities, and the sustainable development of the Amazon region. The case is the patent of Ayahuasca is emphasized because it offends the cultural identity of indigenous peoples in the region.
  • To create strong alliances of farmers and indigenous peoples, in the fight against misappropriation and monopolization of their resources and knowledge, as well as the fight against the colonial exploration of biological diversity of the Amazon.
  • To contribute to more transparency in the discussion about biopiracy, that extends from vague suspicions to conspiracy theories, many times lacking objectivity.