Monday, February 2, 2009

That's pep

This was going to be an upbeat and positive post. It really was. I recently was introduced to peppadew, which is a sweet piquanté pepper grown in South Africa. It is like a flavor cornucopia in my mouth. I love it, and best of all, it's low in calories and fat, so you can munch them like chips and not cause your heart to fail.

I was reading up on this strange and fantastical pepper, like so:
Just a few short years back, businessman and farmer J.S. (he prefers to stay anonymous) was looking around the garden of his holiday home in the Eastern Cape in South Africa when he spotted an unusual-looking bush, standing head high, laden with small bright red fruit which looked like something between miniature red peppers and cherry tomatoes.

Gingerly, he bit into one. It had a unique, delicious taste – a mixture of peppery and sweet, but with a distinctive flavor. Rightly believing that he had hit upon something really new, he saved seeds from the ripened fruit of the mother plant , cultivated the seedlings, developed the secret recipe with which to process the fruit and gave the processed fruit the name PEPPADEW™ (they are obviously peppery but are as sweet and tantalizing as the dew).

Worldwide research, global registration of the trademarks, international sole rights to grow the plant commercially, the establishment of commercial farms in the bountiful farmlands of the Tzaneen area and the building of a special processing, bottling and packaging factory followed and now Peppadew™ Sweet & Spicy Fruits are being savored by discerning palates around the world - from South Africa, to Britain, Europe, Canada and as far away as Australia.
Wait, what?

I know they developed the way to cultivate the pepper or whatever, but how can a business own the rights to grow and sell a plant that is naturally found? It's not that they genetically engineered this plant - the dude found it in his backyard. This would be like Chiquita owning the global rights to selling bananas.

This isn't akin to paying for water, either, because if I don't want to pay the water authority, I can always bathe in Evian (it would cost more, naturally, and take longer). It just boggles my mind that if I tried to sell this plant, I would not be allowed to, or I would be sued. Brazilian companies could really make a fortune finding new plants in the Amazon to then possess a copyright on. Thank goodness we found corn before the natives got exclusive distribution rights. Granted, we would have killed them anyway and ignored their property entitlements, but let's not get hung up on technicalities.

Apparently God needs to hire a patent attorney.