Colombians Ask: Who Would Dare Patent Panela?

Source: New York Times

VALLE DEL CAUCA, Colombia — This past April, Jorge González Ulloa, a shareholder at one of Colombia’s largest sugar companies, was awarded U.S. Patent No. 10,632,167, which described a method for making an unrefined sugar containing high levels of policosanols, alcohols found in sugar cane wax that are purported to lower cholesterol.

The method, Mr. González’s patent claimed, would result in “a cholesterol-lowering consumable product at such a low cost that it could be made readily available to all individuals, particularly the millions of people that currently do not have the financial means to afford existing pharmaceutical drugs.” Raw sugar, Mr. González was proposing, would become the Lipitor of the poor.

Mr. González has now applied for similar patents in Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, China, Australia and the European Union, and has trademarked a name for his product, calling it Policane.



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