This Twitter Thread Clears Up Confusion on The Hague Teff Case (UPDATE)

The following Twitter thread started by legal consultant ልዩ - Leyou @anchihoye in Ethiopia clears up the confusion regarding The Hague Teff Case. (Photo: Preparing injera/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 7th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Below is a great Twitter thread that clears up the confusion on The Hague Teff ruling. In fact the court case was between two companies. The patent holder was suing another company who wanted to use teff products. The second company argued that the patent was invalid to begin with because it failed to show how the patent was itself an innovation. The court then ruled against the patent holder. We can see how Fitsum Arega’s tweet was indicating the invalidation of the patent holder’s claim and how that is in essence a win for Ethiopia in general. But his tweet was also vague and implied that the Ethiopian government directly won an argument in court, which it hasn’t. So we’ll keep an eye on developments. In the meantime here is the Twitter thread started by Legal Consultant and journalist ልዩ – Leyou @anchihoye and a link to a comprehensive summary by the website Quartz Africa as well as The Washington Post.

Alright, after the very unneeded confusion on #teff patent today, I've decided to do a long thread to make it clear to everyone what exactly happened!!! #Thread #Ethiopia

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 6, 2019

So the @fitsumaregaa tweeted this morning a link to the Dutch Court decision related to #teff patent infringement. The dispute was brought by Ancientgrain claiming ownership of patent : NL 1023977 & NL 1023977, see pics #Ethiopia pic.twitter.com/6XMs6btFd8

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 6, 2019

Patent NL 977 covers processing ripened Teff and NL 978 covers flour blend composition. The "inventor" named in both patents is Jans Roosjen. #Ethiopia #Teff

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 6, 2019

If that name, Jans Roosjen, sounds familiar is because it's the same name that has been written about re: Dutchman claims Teff articles, such as https://t.co/pnE2eAEOqU #Teff #Ethiopia

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 6, 2019

So, the Dutch Court has declared that Bakels, the company that was sued by Ancientgrain for having infringed on #Teff patents, defend itself saying that it did not infringe because the patents are not valid as it lacks inventiveness. Court agreed. Unofficial translation below pic.twitter.com/K6rtNYlbWT

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 6, 2019

The below is the claim that Ancientgrain bright against Bakels and Millet (Bakels #Teff supplier), stating that the patent right has been infringed. Again, the decision of the court pretty much says the 2 patents invalid, due to lack of inventiveness. pic.twitter.com/ejxK9rlIeC

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 6, 2019

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
1. The decision is a basis for to be scrapped off in Netherlands
2. Since NL. 978 was only active in Netherlands, it's DEAD!!!
(2 more below) #Ethiopia #Teff

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 6, 2019

3. NL 977(processing flour)exists in France,Germany,Japan, Spain + EU patent. It's a matter application enforcement of Dutch Court decision in those countries
4.#Ethiopia should not start new suit, rather approach Bakels & look into "how to apply for invalidation in EU countries"

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 6, 2019

For #Ethiopia to start a new case against Health & Performance Food International, the original company that took the patent would be a waste of resources, you know why?
Look closely at who the current assignee is on the patents in France, Germany, EU patent pic.twitter.com/N07d4zxn87

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 6, 2019

Yep, no point of fighting when someone else has done it for you! #theend, I think!

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 6, 2019

Thanks for this! Also found this super helpful https://t.co/z5viM9SZGO Looks like patent will expire soon anyhow. But lesson is for gov to come up with comprehensive protection policies for local companies. No more unreserved faith in foreign inst.

— Iyob Gebremariam (@IyobG) February 7, 2019

Excellent thread. I'm adding something here…someone familiar with Dutch law says that the appeals period with patent rulings is 3 months…not the standard 6 weeks. The patent was cancelled not because appeals period expired but actually…because apparently,

— Zecharias Zelalem (@ZekuZelalem) February 6, 2019

Roosjen and co. made it clear in writing that they would not appeal. Which means they have probably realized that this is an unwinnable fight. More reasons to pursue the company until the end.

— Zecharias Zelalem (@ZekuZelalem) February 6, 2019

So, can you ask your EU IP expert if Bakels decision can be brought directly before EU IPO(intellectual property office) to invalidate the EU patent?

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 7, 2019

I'll get back to you on that.

— Zecharias Zelalem (@ZekuZelalem) February 7, 2019

Thank you. And 1 more, if the invalidation of the 1st Patent, which served as a basis for the granting of subsequent patents, creates a domino effect for their invalidation?

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 7, 2019

I think I will end up putting you in touch with people linked to the case, I feel like I'll mistranslate some legal jargon and butcher the message between legal professionals.

— Zecharias Zelalem (@ZekuZelalem) February 7, 2019

Haha! Thanks! I'll do research online in the meantime :)

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 7, 2019

Please unpack the potential prospects, challenges, and the way forwards in non-technical terms

— Gizachew Tessema (@Giz_tessema) February 7, 2019

Will do, waiting to speak to an EU patent expert first.

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 7, 2019

@ZekuZelalem and @anchihoye thanks so much for the clarification.

— Samuel Alemayehu (@SamuelYeferu) February 7, 2019

Great explanation @anchihoye @fitsumaregaa should read your thread and correct his tweet as it has gained the wrong media attention globally… #Teff #Ethiopia

— Isaias Lemma (@IsaiasLemma) February 7, 2019

Mr Fitsum had stated the facts correctly: a Dutch court has handed down its verdict. No less, no more. This embassy has confirmed the court’s decision.

— NL Embassy Ethiopia (@NLinEthiopia) February 7, 2019

I believe that the confusion from that tweet is that ppl are understanding the case at the Hague was won by Ethiopia or friends of Ethiopia, which in fact is not the case, and is how it is being reported on the news (Fana, EBC, LTV etc…).

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 7, 2019

Exactly my point! I hope Ethiopia wins it effectively soon!!

— Isaias Lemma (@IsaiasLemma) February 7, 2019

So I understand from Dutch newspaper: 1. The Hague Court only court in Netherlands competent to issue a verdict in patent cases 2. Dutch Patent Agency sided with Bakels 3. Bakels considering bringing cases against the patent in Belgium; Germany; UK; Austria and Italy.

— joost heij (@joost_heij) February 7, 2019

This is FANTASTIC news!!!! #teff #Ethiopia Can you please share the news article in Dutch, English, or both. https://t.co/vBo4wJj4Rx

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 7, 2019

According to this article below, the patent attorney of Bakels (@BakelsSeniorNV ) Wannes Weymiens, says they will challenge the patents in Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria and Italy where it is still valid based on the Dutch Court decision. #Teff #Ethiopia https://t.co/J42WRRus0V

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 7, 2019

If this is in fact the case, it means that the Attorney General of #Ethiopia would only have to make an application before the Japanese courts for invalidation of the patent as the other company is taking care of the EU ones. The AG should reach out to Bakels @joost_heij @GMirafe

— ልዩ – Leyou (@anchihoye) February 7, 2019


Related:
How Ethiopia got its grain back
Ethiopia’s teff flour is no longer patented as a Dutch invention

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