India ropes in US, UK to protect traditional knowledge

India has joined hands with the US and Britain to protect thousands of medicinal preparations based on traditional knowledge from piracy and patent controversies.

New Delhi: India has joined hands with the US and Britain to protect thousands of medicinal preparations based on traditional knowledge from piracy and patent controversies.
The government has made the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) available to these countries so that "misappropriation of its traditional knowledge at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and United Kingdom Trademark and Patent Office (UKPTO)" could be prevented, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) told IANS in an e-mail Monday.

TKDL is a collaborative project between the CSIR and the department of AYUSH (ayrveda, yoga, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) in the health ministry.

The country has signed a similar agreement with the 34-country European Patent Office (EPO), making TKDL database available to their patent examiners. This will prevent patent controversies based on Indian formulations but claimed by other countries, CSIR said.

"These unique international agreements would have long-term implications on the protection of traditional knowledge and global intellectual property systems in view of the fact that in the past, patents have been granted at EPO and USPTO on the use of over 200 medicinal plants due to the lack of access to the documented knowledge in public domain," the CSIR said.

At any point in time, 40-50 patent applications based on Indian traditional knowledge are awaiting grant of patents outside India, it said.

IANS