"Switzerland was a poor country without many natural resources, whose economy was largely reliant on farming. But in 1859 a small company based in Basel "borrowed" the aniline dying process which had been developed and patented in Britain two years before. The company, later called Ciba, soon became a massive industrial enterprise, swiftly outstripping competing firms in Britain. In 1995, Ciba merged with another Swiss firm, Sandoz, to form the conglomerate Novartis. Novartis was one of the companies which successfully lobbied for the European convention allowing companies to patent genes."