Indigenous peoples known as the Emberá live in the rainforests of Colombia.The Emberá, traditionally semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, have lived in the Chocó region at least since the sixteenth century.

In “Protecting Rainforest-Derived Technology Equitably,” published by WIPO, Director Jorge A Goldstein, Ph.D. introduces the Emberá peoples of Colombia and Colombian company Ecoflora Cares.

In the early 2000s, Ecoflora discovered the jagua fruit created a stable and free-flowing blue powder and wanted to commercialize the powder in a way that would respect the sustainability of the fruit and benefit the local communities from which it originated. Ecoflora and several Emberá communities entered into agreements for the Emberá to harvest and supply the jagua fruit for commercial partners.

The firm’s pro bono practice helped Ecoflora to obtain patents on the jagua tree’s blue powder and its applications. In the article, Goldstein also describes the effort of finding a company to license to who accepted the idea of “reverse technology transfer.”