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          Thursday, December 14, 2017

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India Patents
Yoga, Ayurveda

By  Courtesy PTI

New Delhi, India: India is publishing a bulky encyclopedia, running into 30 million pages, which would extensively cover its vast traditional knowledge as part of efforts to keep out intellectual property invaders from patenting its indigenous wealth. Work on the book, which would be in electronic format, is progressing at a feverish pace and already one-third of it has been completed.

"Ten million pages have been digitised," Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary Ajay Dua informed a FICCI-WIPO organised seminar on strategically using patents for wealth creation in the life sciences industry.

The work, christened Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), seeks to repel attempts by people abroad to patent traditional Indian knowledge, be it yoga or medicine systems like ayurveda.

"Even as this exercise (TKDL) is going on, 150 yoga asanas (postures) have been patented abroad...134 of these asanas were granted patent by the US Patent and Trademark office," dua said.

"Close to 1,500 (postures) have been given trademark (elsewhere)," he said, but added that this was not the mistake of patent offices abroad.

While traditional knoweldge has been in public domain in India in various vernacular languages, the same was not accessible by patent examiners abroad, he noted.

The book would help examiners cross-check on whether an application for patent is an original innovation or a copy of what already exists in other parts of the world, in this case India.

The National Institute for Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR) is putting the document together based on ancient transcripts in Sanskrit and Persian.

NISCAIR sources said the book would save the government precious money, which could otherwise be lost in litigation costs trying to safeguard what rightfully belongs to the country.

Without naming the person, they said a prominent US-based yoga guru had patented 26 postures. The patent was granted due to the absence of reference material.

The E-document would be made available in all major international languages including French, German and Japanese so that patent examiners do not inadvertently grant patents.

"Our entire scheme of patenting has to look at knowledge ever since human beings started treading the earth," Dua said. .

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