Mega-Corporations do a lot of pretty cheeky things, but when I learned they tried to patent the neem tree, I took it personally. They have been patenting living things for about thirty years, but at least it was living things they had modified in their labs. For example, hybrid seeds, which grow faster and produce more than natural seeds, and then have the wonderful quality (for Monsanto) of not reproducing reliably the next year. You have to keep buying seed from Monsanto, you see.
Neem Tree as Natural Medicine
But the neem tree? I learned about this tree when I was trying to help some orphanages in Uganda. The kids were being attacked by the most dangerous animal on the planet. Can you guess what that is? The most dangerous animal on the planet is the mosquito, which carries malaria and kills about one million people annually. The neem has been used by impoverished people in Africa and India for centuries to treat malaria and other diseases. I obtained neem seeds and sent them to the orphanages for planting. I also sent nets and medicine, but that’s another story.
Now some corporation tried to patent this tree that God had provided for free. The patent was granted then revoked, thankfully. But according to the Guardian, Wikileaks documents show that the US ambassador to Paris wanted retaliation against any European Union members who fought their patenting of living things. They even tried to lobby the Pope to put his blessing on their Genetically Modified crops.
Trying to patent Mother Nature is offensive. Trying to patent the neem tree, so that impoverished, sick people have to buy it from some fat corporation is just obscene.