Bolivia moves to trademark coca and start export

By Potter · Mar 19, 2007 · ·
  1. Potter
    Bolivia move to protect coca name

    Bolivians have used the coca leaf for many centuries
    International firms like Coca-Cola may have to stop using the word coca in brand names if Bolivia's coca leaf farmers get their way.

    The growers say the leaf is part of Bolivia's cultural heritage and merits protection like regional products such as champagne and feta cheese.

    A resolution by the farmers has been endorsed by a panel that is helping to rewrite Bolivia's constitution.

    Coca-Cola said in a statement its name is protected under Bolivian law.

    'Mild stimulant'

    The resolution put to the Coca Committee of the Constitutional Assembly called the "millennium-old coca plant" a "tangible, cultural heritage" and a "bioenergetic, strategic, renewable, economic, natural resource".

    It demanded that "international companies that include in their commercial name the name of coca (example: Coca Cola) refrain from using the name of the sacred leaf in their products."

    The panel also called on the UN to decriminalize coca.

    The coca leaf is a mild stimulant that Bolivians have used for centuries to reduce altitude sickness and feelings of hunger.

    Bolivia's indigenous people also use the leaves in religious ceremonies.

    President Evo Morales is a former coca leaf farmer and is pressing the UN to allow Bolivia to export products such as tea, toothpaste and liquor made from coca.

    A representative of the Coca Committee, Margarita Teran, said she was dismayed that Coca-Cola could sell its soft drinks worldwide while Bolivia was barred from exporting products made with coca.

    Coca-Cola released a statement saying their trademark was "the most valuable and recognized brand in the world" and was protected under Bolivian law.


    When I was down in South America, I drank quite a bit of the coca tea, along with chewing it. Probably one of the most amazing plants I've met. The stuff is really fantastic for you, full day's supply of nutrition, keeps you from getting altitude sickness, incredible energy. Never noticed any ill effects. Frankly I'm rather excited over this move.


    Share This Article


  1. Riconoen {UGC}
    I hope this gets passed, one giant leap towards legal yayo.
  2. Bajeda
    I don't see them being able to force the word 'coca' out of the name of the soft drink, seeing as how its worth immense amounts of money with the importance of branding and the recognizable name to the Coke company.

    Still, it could just be that the patent / trademark issue is something put forward to add more legitimacy to the effort to decriminalise coca so it can be exported. I'd rather the coca plant be protected rather than the name itself, as it would probably raise tougher opposition to fight corporations that have a vested interest in keeping the name.

    Hopefully if this goes anywhere we'll start to see an upwards trend for S. American coca farmers, who haven't faired especially well (understatement) with the war on drugs.
  3. Benga
    swim thinks they would be better of organizing in a governement run structure like Peru's ENACO, and lobby for a better understanding of coca and coca products. Trademarking the name of the plant doesn't make sense, and is in know way comparable to champagne or feta which refer to means of production (and in the case of champagne, of a production area) of the product. It would be like trying to "trademark" grapes, or cheese, or say coffee.
    As for coca-cola, it wouldn't stand either, as the soft drink company has deep historical links with the plant and still uses the leaves as a flavor agent. What could be fought against would be a monopoly of the name "coca", say if coca-cola was trying to ban a soft drink called coca xxx or xxxx coca, this would be abusive, precisely because it is not a trademarked named, but the name of a plant.
    swim definetly agrees with swiBajeda on the exportation issue. Where swim lives in europe coca is sold in south american shops ( ENACO brands, mate de coca Delisse), and the owners of the shop have told swim that legislation was softened a couple of years ago. Yet this appears nowhere, and might not be true. The fact is customs are letting coca, products with coca written on the box, in the country, and yes controls are tight for south american exports.
    as for a giant leap toward legal "yayo", ie cocaine, swim doesn't agree. it is nothing comparable, and this type of association is precisely what coca activists are fighting against, and it is precisely the type of reaction politicians might have in order to block such movements.
    if swim is for a legalisation of (all) substances and substance use, he believes associating coca and cocaine doesn't lead very far in either way.

    a "trademark" is really not a key move in swim's opinion, but maybe they are just doing this for having coca talked about ( since references to the USA's famous softdrink company have been made, this might cause a little media event). but organizing and calling for a revision of the UN's list which includes coca leaves and plants would be a very good thing.
  4. stoneinfocus
    Well, it´s actually cocaine that´s in the leaves and all of those who use leaves, try to do their best, absorbing it through the mucosa, bypassing first pass metabolism of digestion/liver to ecgonine, which is the main matabolite after cocaine-ingestion, too, given a half life of cocaine, being 15-45min, I don´t see
    why pure cocaine is so far away from coca leaves?

    I´ve haerd a few years ago, that China was thinking about importing coca-tea.

    As I see it, the rant from Bolivia is for that they´re selling the trademark "Champagne", while it´s forbidden to trade/export Champagne(tm) in the Champagne.^^
  5. Benga
    yes cocaine is a part of the alkaloid make up of coca. No coca isn't only active because of its cocaine content. Coca chewing is very far from insufflated cocaine, and lacks its side effects, as all those who use the leave know. The alkaloid make up of coca and the specifics of the ingestion mechanism which swiyou described make coca use and extracted cocaine very different things. a broad spectrum of coca alkaloid is absorbed very slowly through the oral mucosa, with a very little concentration of cocaine (due to the leaves themselves and their cocaine concentration, the absorption mechanism which limits intake). Some studies, including one published in 1965 in Paris, indicate that the cocaine ( and cocaine related alkaloids) which does enter the blood stream are actually decomposed into ecgonine, which would account for the less euphoric experience of coca (that those who have played around with highly concentrated coca extracts can confirm). Besides it is also thought that the alkaloid makeup of coca counterblalances the cocaine effect.
    chewing coca is very different from pure extracted cocaine, come on...yes, there is a relation, yes, coca is a mood lifter and a mild stimulant (more of a refresher if you ask swim, one feels less tired, can work more, but not really stimulated as one does with say cocaine), but the similarities are limited. And coca also has a sedative, calming effect, probably due to the alkaloid makeup itself or their decomposition.
    besides, it seems to swim that a play on words, the post was refering to pure cocaine ( HCl), not the "pure" 0.2 to 0.9 percent unextracted cocaine present in coca leaves.....

    champagne is not a trademark but an AOC (appellation d'origine controlée) which is a statute which defines what can and what cannot be called "champagne". this controled denomination is determined by production techniques, terroir / production area and materials used. Same applies for feta. Coca is the name of a plant, name probably coming from ancient quechua or aramaya, which was chosen by early taxinomists to design a type of plant in the erythroxylon family. Maybe swim is wrong in his understanding of the bolivian rant, but the way swim sees it, if "Lipton Ice tea" is trademark, it is still hard and questionable for tea growers to want trademark the word "tea" itself, ie the reference to the plant and/or use itself. whereas champagne and feta are preparation, with production techniques, materials, and areas. One could possibly want to protect a label like "original peruvian Huanco valley coca", or like for tea appelations like Darjeeling's "super fine tippy flowery golden orange pekoe" SFTFGOP, but it still doesn't give any weight to lawsuit against coca-cola... Which it would if coca-cola was trying to forbid the use of the word "coca", but this is not the case AFASK... Bolivians produce coca, like Peruvians or Columbians, with different production areas and different types of plants, just like wine cepages, but they're still only producing grapes, or wine if you wish, and that would be hard ( and questionable) to try and trademark...
    swim thinks they're feeling abused by coca-cola selling a product with the word coca in it, with little or none references to the plant, unlike what it was historically, where it was just one syrup amongst the hundreds of different coca wines, "vin toniques à la coca" etc which acknowledged the use of coca leaves, whereas now coca-cola refuses to endorce this past or openly admit using such a flavouring agent. While Bolivians cannot export their product. Unfortunately it doesn't really hold water against coca-cola. what this "campaign" can do is to expose the inadequacy of the current legislation, and prevent other non coca-containing products using this label- but between swiy and swim, who would do such a thing nowadays ? coca-cola only exists as a name because of its historical background, and they've even tried to dilute that with the name "coke"...

    so what's next, african Kola nut producers sueing coca-cola and pepsi cola and royal crown cola and all the colas "soft drink" names for the use of the term...cola ? which historicaly comes from...


    an example of a AOC : calvados
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!