The entrance of the German Consulate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was the setting for a demonstration today by representatives of organizations for the defense of Northeastern traditions.
Parading banners and posters, the protestors occupied part of the sidewalk in front of the consulate to demonstrate against the registration of a patent for the brand "Rapadura" by a German firm.
The president of the Merchants’ Cooperative of the São Cristóvão Northeastern Traditions Fair (Coopercampo), Agamenon de Almeida, said that he did express to the consulate’s business attaché, Klaus Müeller, his indignation.
The Northeastern population, according to him, are incensed with the attitude of the German firm, Rapunzel, which obtained patents in Germany and the United States for the brand "Rapadura."
Rapadura (hard brown sugar cake) is an authentically Brazilian product linked to Northeastern culture. "I asked him whether he thought it would be correct for Brazilians to patent ‘Sauerkraut.’ He said no."
The patent prohibits Brazilian producers from using the name "rapadura" when they export the sweet to the two countries, unless they pay patent fees to Rapunzel.
Almeida said that the purpose of the demonstration was to alert German government officials to the problem. He informed that he sent letters to president Lula and the ministers of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, and Culture, Gilberto Gil, requesting the Brazilian government to adopt measures addressed to the German government to annul the patent license.
This is not the first time an authentically Brazilian product has been patented by a foreign company. Last year a Japanese firm patented the brand "Cupuaçu," a fruit native to the Amazon.
After receiving protests and appeals from the Brazilian government, the Japanese government had the license cancelled.