Tag Archives: netherlands

Netherlands court strikes down Dutch grifter’s patent claim over Ethiopia’s ancient staple grain teff

13 Feb

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory( TEO)

Teff is one of the oldest grains to have been cultivated, a staple for so long that its original cultivation date is lost to history and can only be estimated at between 1000 and 4000 BCE; it is best known as the main ingredient in injera, the soft pancakes that are served with Ethiopian meals.

In 2003, a Dutch human named Jans Roosjen filed a patent on teff, claiming to have invented it, and demanding a halt to virtually every means of preparing the grain. Roosjen ran an agronomy corporation that partnered with the Ethiopian government to market teff in Europe, which then went bankrupt after paying Ethopia a mere €4000. But before the bankruptcy, Roosjen and his company had filed their patent application by lying and claiming that the manner used for storing and processing teff was a novel invention.

As the patent holder for teff, Roosjen struck lucrative deals with other EU companies — and froze Ethiopia and its people out of access to European markets. Ethiopia itself lacked the resources to invalidate Roosjen’s patent, so it remained in force until Roosjen threatened another Dutch company for making teff without paying him for a license. Roosjen’s patent was invalidated in 2014, and this week, the deadline for an appeal passed, meaning that the patent is now permanently dead.

Intellectual property is a grifter’s best friend: grifters aren’t mere con artists, they’re the impressarios of immersive LARPs in which you are guided to signing contracts that say that everything you own is really something you misappropriated from them, and by continuing to use your stuff, you are nothing but a lawless cur.

The connection between IP trolling and settler colonialism is strong and not coincidental. If you’re going to claim that something everyone is using belongs to no one, then it helps if the people you’re misappropriating have no access to power or justice. In some ways, Roosjen is just Aloha Poke, by another name — a scam that steals an ancient foodstuff, and not just an ancient word.

The furor over the teff ownership comes at a time when Africans are increasingly raising questions about creative and artistic theft, cultural appropriation, and pushing to reclaim their narrative. This is especially being amplified by the internet and social media, where online petitions are agitating for change, including most recently on Disney’s trademarking of the Swahili phrase “Hakuna Matata.”

Following the controversy of French and American companies trying to trademark rooibos tea, South Africa sought and won a “geographic indicator status” over the product, meaning goods made in the country and approved by the government could only use the name. In Kenya, Benin, Nigeria, and beyond, artists and museum curators are also seeking the return of looted artifacts kept in Western museums across the world.

/Boing Boing (blog)



How Ethiopia lost control of its teff genetic resources: Lessons to be learned

Risks of Ethiopia losing its natural resources: The case of teff as example

Eritrea & Ethiopia: The abyss and the seemingly glowing star

28 Oct

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Already for more than a decade, Eritrea has carried itself as a proud nation. Among others, against TPLF fabrications it has stood on its feet and under sanctions. International aid and trade could not mediate its opening up to international investors.

Eritrean leaders claim from time to time that has been the only avenue for them to preserve their country as a sovereign nation.
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Bolivia, Ethiopia & Sweden elected UN Security Council members for 2017-2018; GA balloting to continue

28 Jun

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Bolivia and Ethiopia have run unchallenged to two non-permanent seats in the UN security Council, representing the Latin America and Caribbean Region and Africa, respectively.

Having won stiff competition, Sweden was elected on the first round beating its challengers Italy & the Netherlands with a vote of 134 member states.
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‘Ethiopia, Rwanda give the lie to electoral democracy hype’, researcher makes bold, dangerous recommendation to SSA

3 Mar

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)



Mr. Frederick Golooba-Mutebi penned Ethiopia, Rwanda give the lie to electoral democracy hype on the February 28, 2015 issue of Africa Review, which is partially reproduced hereunder and the link provided. In there, he gives the impression that his objective is to suggest institution of measures that would help redeem the long and many promises of freedom, human liberties and growth and development for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). For that, he underlines the need to eliminate “clientelism, the exchange of votes for material or financial handouts” from the existing so-called competitive elections.
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US and UK accused of hacking Sim card firm to steal codes

20 Feb

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
BBC News report

US and British intelligence agencies hacked into a major manufacturer of Sim cards in order to steal codes that facilitate eavesdropping on mobiles, a US news website says.
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Dutch beat French & Swiss in new global food table; Ethiopia trails at the bottom – says Oxfam

16 Jan

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory

(Reuters) – The Netherlands nudged past France and Switzerland as the country with the most nutritious, plentiful and healthy food, while the United States and Japan failed to make it into the top 20, a new ranking released by Oxfam on Tuesday showed.
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