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This patent application US20130047644 A1 refers to using Vetiver grass roots for cooling screens. Seems strange to attempt to patent this use as Vetiver roots have been used for this purpose for millennia in India, and the knowledge has been in the public domain for centuries. Patently unpatentable?

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The application looks like it was drafted by someone unfamiliar with the patenting process. –  George White Apr 12 '13 at 3:45
    
It should be pretty easy to find prior art for this. Can you provide a publication describing this use prior to August 2011? –  Joel Spolsky Apr 12 '13 at 17:22
    
This paper seems to be dateable to 2003. vetiver.com/ICV3-Proceedings/THAI_other%20uses.pdf by looking at the confernce program here vetiver.org/TVN_ICV3_proceedings.htm –  George White Apr 12 '13 at 18:59
    
I am not able to find any publicationlisting the use of vetiver for cooling screens, but we had been using them for hundreds of years in TamilNadu, India and probably in other parts of India as well as a rich man's air-conditioner. I had seen this used in our house as well as in the neighborhood as a child and am sure that many more have as well. There is nothing to invent here and this looks like a clear case of usurping knowledge that has been in the public domain for personal reasons –  user4133 Jun 26 '13 at 16:40
    
I am not able to find any publicationlisting the use of vetiver for cooling screens, but we had been using them for hundreds of years in TamilNadu, India and probably in other parts of India as well, as an air-conditioner. I had seen this used as a child in our house and many other houses in my neighborhood and am definitely sure that this has been in vogue for a long time. There is nothing new to invent here and this looks like a clear case of usurping knowledge that has been in the public domain for personal reasons. This is just another shade of bio-piracy. –  user4133 Jun 26 '13 at 16:54
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1 Answer 1

According to the Wikipedia page for the plant, there is a reference to cooling uses in the book CRC Handbook of alternative cash crops published in 1993.

I do not own this book, so I can not personally verify the claim.

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