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You want a patent for a known substance? No problem, just claim a new parameter

it is all described here:


Patent  EP-B-1 646 287, is titled “Processing of Teff Flour”. Its Claim 1 reads as follows:

1. A flour of a grain belonging to the genus Eragrostis, preferably Eragrostis tef, characterized in that the falling number of the grain at the moment of grinding is at least 250, preferably at least 300, more preferably at least 340, most preferably at least 380.

The patent reads as follows in [0010]:

[0010] In summary, Eragrostis offers an attractive source of (gluten-free) flour. However, it has been found that the preparation of a food product with traditional Teff flour (for instance Teff flour which is mixed with wheat flour for preparing injera) often causes problems. A known problem is the instability of the product, particularly of baked products. In other cases, the product has an unattractive taste and/or structure.
[0011] The invention provides the insight that the above-mentioned problems surprisingly do not occur if Teff flour with a particular falling number is used.

Different Teff varieties have been tested in different after-ripening stages and under different cultivation conditions (such as climate, soil type, fertilization) on test and cultivation fie lds. Samples hereof have been collected and analyzed for inter alia falling number and baking quality (with test breads prepared according to the formulation and method of Example 1).
This shows that a falling number of at least 250 is needed to obtain a baking product with an acceptable quality, that is, a product that is awarded at least a grade 5 (on a scale of 1-10) by a test panel. A falling number of 300 results in a significantly improved product (assessment: 6), while a product of Teff flour with a falling number of 380-390 is, on average, awarded the grade 7. It can be gathered from Fig. 1 that, for a product which meets the ’market standard’ of 7.5, the use of Teff flour with a falling number of at least 400 is required.

A baking product “with acceptable quality” is supposed to have a falling number of at least 250. So the claim covers all baking products made of Teff having acceptable quality.

It takes a lot of effort to revoke such a patent, as described here