[Coral-List] Patents

Eric Borneman eborneman at uh.edu
Sun Jun 12 10:22:45 EDT 2005

Although I had been aware of this issue for quite some time though my  
Indonesian colleagues, I see the issue has exploded and has now  
reached coral-list, as well.

Personally, I find it very disconcerting. This is an industry-wide  
standard and has been for at least fifteen years. The very first  
corals I ordered in 1990 were packaged using this method. It is rare  
to ever see any livestock from any source, domestic or international,  
in which at least some of the species are not shipped in this method.  
It is as though this company is trying to patent the addition of milk  
in cereal or the use of paper clips to bind pages of paper.  This is,  
to me, clearly not a patentable idea and I feel that any attempts to  
produce a patent should be denied or revoked. There is nothing unique  
or proprietary about the idea and should be soundly trounced. I have  
personally been packing corals in this manner for over a decade, and  
I would welcome any attempt to extort or engage in lawsuits to claim  
money based on such a practice. In fact, it is my understanding that  
material is copyrighted or considered original the moment it is  
created by US law, and the filling out of an "official claim" to  
intellectual rights, at least in the US, is no longer a requirement  
but exists from the moment of conception. Therefore, any claim to  
originality of the idea would have to be proven and supercede  
previous use of those techniques.

Eric Borneman

On Jun 7, 2005, at 4:26 AM, Abigail Thompson wrote:

> Dear Coral list members
> I and my colleagues are very disturbed by these moves to patent  
> what are obviously common and generic techniques widely used in may  
> countries, with small variations. Not just propagation but even  
> simple modes of packing for transport...
> I am not a patent expert and have little idea as to the geographic  
> spread and legal force of these patents if they succeed. I would  
> like more information on this point from anyone with this  
> expertise. I am pretty sure here in Indonesia any patent will be  
> circumvented, but may be an excuse for increased bribery &  
> corruption...
> However, I very much hope they don't get granted and that soemone  
> out there can do the necessary to make sure they don't.
> It is like patenting jam-making... something anyone could do  
> without a patent once they know the principles, then develop their  
> own "wrinkles"!
> Good luck Michael!
> Best regards
> Abigail
> Abigail Moore MSc
> Marine Consultant
> Yayasan Palu Hijau
> Jl Setia Budi Lrg Siswa No12
> Palu 94111
> Sulteng
> Tel/fax: 0451 422811
> Email: abigail2105 at yahoo.com and aby05 at plasa.com
>> --------------------------------------------------------------------- 
>> -
>> Message: 1
>> Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 23:56:53 +0900
>> From: "Michael Arvedlund" <arvedlund at speedpost.net>
>> Subject: [Coral-List] Urgent message to all coral list members
>> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>> Message-ID: <1117810613.30573.235581789 at webmail.messagingengine.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
>> Regarding a possible patent on coral fragmentation – Dear  
>> everybody, a friend of mine sent me this mail below here, which I
>> think you all should have a chance to read. Regards, Mike Arvedlund,
>> Sesoko Station, Okinawa, Japan. (arvedlund at speedpost.net).
>> This is the email: “You will find below and attached some  
>> information transmitted by the
>> coordinators of the EUAC Coral ASP concerning a patent on coral
>> propagation techniques under application process. The patent  
>> application
>> is made by a French company. You will find here after a list of  
>> website
>> pages, at which you can view the patent applications (some are not  
>> concerning the corals but are inserted as additional information).
>> http://l2.espacenet.com/espacenet/viewer? 
>> PN=FR2857946&CY=fr&LG=fr&DB=EPD
>> http://l2.espacenet.com/espacenet/viewer? 
>> PN=CA2462921&CY=fr&LG=fr&DB=EPD
>> http://l2.espacenet.com/espacenet/viewer? 
>> PN=EP1488696&CY=fr&LG=fr&DB=EPD
>> http://fr.espacenet.com/espacenet/fr/fr/e_net.htm
>> http://l2.espacenet.com/espacenet/viewer? 
>> PN=FR2854387&CY=fr&LG=fr&DB=EPD
>> You can also have access to the different data about of the patent
>> application through the European Patent Office (EPO) website
>> http://my.epoline.org/portal/public
>> to get in the website, you have to: register (it takes 1 minute..),
>> receive your username and password, enter your password and your user
>> name and, visit "File inspection"
>> The application number is : EP04102643
>> A lot of people are concerned by this patent. As an example, you will
>> also find attached a letter of information written by Waterweelde  
>> giving
>> the standpoint of this company. The EUAC committee think that the  
>> matter
>> is quiet serious as it seems that Aquaria that use such techniques  
>> for
>> coral propagation for quite a long time now, could not do it  
>> anymore due
>> to this patent. To use these techniques, the Aquaria should pay  
>> fees. If
>> not, they could be at risk to be sued by the patent owner. A lot  
>> of work
>> about coral propagation has been done with very good results by
>> different institutions in Europe prior to the French company who  
>> wants
>> to patent the technique. We think that such work should be taken in
>> account by the Office in charge of reviewing the application.
>> A message had been sent on the discussion forum of the group
>> (EUACCoralASP at yahoogroups.com), raising many answers from various
>> institutions.
>> It clearly shows that there is a general concern about that  
>> matter. We
>> invite anybody who is concerned by this matter to contact the EUAC  
>> Coral
>> ASP coordinators to see what evidence (document, litterature, photos,
>> video..) showing that these techniques were used successfully  
>> prior to
>> 2003, could be gathered and sent to the office in charge of reviewing
>> the patent.
>> Then, a letter (with, as an attachment, all the references of the
>> evidences gathered) should be sent by EUAC to the office. It is very
>> urgent to act as the patent will be granted next month, 23rd june.
>> Anybody who thinks he can help should show up very quickly. The EUAC
>> secretary will be kept informed about the progress. Please inform the
>> EUAC secretariat about the undertaken actions.
>> Best regards to everybody.
>> EUAC Secretary General
>> Oceanographic Museum
>> Avenue Saint-Martin
>> MC 98000 MONACO
>> Phone +377 93 15 36 00
>> Fax +377 93 50 52 97
>> euac at oceano.mc
>> Dr. Michael Arvedlund
>> JSPS Research Fellow
>> Tropical Biosphere Research Center Sesoko Station University of  
>> the Ryukyus 3422 Sesoko Motobu Okinawa 905-0227 Japan
>> Office Telephone: +81-980-47-6001 FAX: +81-980-47-4919
>> E-mail: arvedlund at speedpost.net
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