"India has made available a database describing 1,300 yoga postures and videography of 200 popular among these as part of efforts to prevent patent pirates from exploiting it for commercial purposes. Scientists at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research ( CSIR) have scoured through 16 ancient texts, including Patanjali Yoga Sutra, and described 1300 yoga postures, a senior official said.
These will be made available to international patent offices through the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), TKDL director V K Gupta told reporters here. He said as part of phase II, 20 more ancient texts would be referred and more yoga postures would be described and put up on the digital library. "We are making available the 30-40 most popular yoga asanas in the open domain. The rest would be available only to patent offices," Gupta said.
In the United States alone, the patent authorities have issued more than 130 yoga-related patents [Have there been any infringement actions? And have any challenges to their validity been upheld?], 150 copyrights [Do patent authorities in the US issue copyrights? Merpel thinks she has missed something in the recent spate of patent reform discussions] and 2,300 trade marks related to the ancient practice ["Yoga-related" can mean a lot of different things here. Some clarification would be helpful].
Today, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) entered into an agreement with TKDL that would grant it access to the rich resource on traditional knowledge. The 'access agreement' was signed by Gupta and Tomoki Sawai, director, international affairs division of the JPO.
India had earlier signed similar agreements with United States Patent & Trademark Office, European Patent Office, German Patent Office, Patent Office of Australia, Canada Patent Office (CIPO) and United Kingdom Trademark & Patent Office (UKPTO), during the last two years. The agreement signed with EPO in particular has resulted into remarkable success in preventing bio-piracy of Indian traditional knowledge at EPO.The IPKat disapproves of any attempt to abuse the patent system by patenting ancient skills, arts and practices -- but he wonders whether the establishment of this database is intended as a means of preventing its contents being misappropriated or as a way of enabling them to be controlled and exploited by a public authority. Some explanation and clarification from his readers would be welcome. Merpel wonders if any other countries are doing the same thing.
The TKDL database includes 54 authoritative textbooks on ayurvedic medicine, nearly 1,50,000 ayurvedic, unani and siddha medicines. It is being used as a ready reckoner by patent examiners to compare patent applications with existing traditional knowledge. The information on traditional knowledge can be read in German, Japanese, English, French and Spanish [Interesting choice of languages: it's the European Patent Office plus Spanish, or the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market minus Italian -- and no Chinese]".