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Ethiopia wins back Teff

Teff has been the basic grain for Ethiopia’s staple food, Injera for millennia. But a Dutch company registered a European patent for teff-related products, claiming that these were “invented” by a certain Jans Roosjen, a senior company official in 2003. The Dutch company, Health and Performance Food International, had registered patents for Teff products in Italy, England, Germany, and Austria, breaching agreements with Ethiopia. Ethiopia has been in a legal battle for years to regain patent rights. The rights are quite valuable to Ethiopia since it helps to exploit the growing global market for Teff. After years of debate, a court in the ruled in favor of Ethiopia, and the announcement was made today after the waiting period for an appeal passed. Teff is slowly hitting the mainstream in the West, touted as a new, gluten-free superfood high in protein and fiber and low in sugar.