BBC turns yoga patent facts "on their head"

A press release from the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), issued today, states that claims that yoga positions "are being patented" are misleading. The organisation accuses the BBC of "turning the facts about yoga positions on their head". This press release has been provoked by the trailer for a discussion on Radio 4’s Today programme on 9 June. Says CIPA Council member Rob Jackson:
"On its website, the BBC’s headline for the yoga story was ‘The Indian government is planning to patent nearly a thousand yoga postures’. In fact, what the Indian government is sensibly trying to do is to prevent people from claiming intellectual property rights for what is a traditional, centuries-old practice".
A pat on the head is however doled out to The Guardian newspaper, which assured its readers that nothing could be further from the truth and that video recordings have been made of yoga positions for the purpose of showing anyone who tries to patent them that the Indians got there first. Dr Vinod Kumar Gupta, who heads the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, a Delhi-based government organisation set up jointly by the Indian ministries of health and science, is quoted as explaining why his organisation is making video recordings of yoga positions:
"Simple text isn't adequate. People are claiming they are doing something different from the original yoga when they are not. There is no intention to stop people practising yoga but nobody should misappropriate yoga and start charging franchise money".
Some cynics might say that if the BBC were as good at contorting their bodies as they are at contorting the facts, they'd master yoga in no time.

The IPKat is pleased that, at a time when so many elements within the patent professions are arguing with each other over business method patents, non-practising entities, litigation costs and so on, CIPA has at last found an issue on which all patent practitioners and their clients are likely to be in complete agreement. Merpel wonders, yoga positions have fascinating names. Which ones are particularly apt for patent attorneys? Any suggestions? Please post them below so we can all enjoy them!

Cat Yoga: buy it here
More yoga positions demonstrated by cats here
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The art of yoga for dyslexics here
BBC turns yoga patent facts "on their head" BBC turns yoga patent facts "on their head" Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, June 10, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. it would depend on your view of patent attorneys I guess: could be either Hero pose or Cobbler's pose ... :)

  2. For those quiet moments in the waiting room before the start of Oral Proceedings, Sukhāsana (Auspicious pose) is to be recommended.

    Afterwards, assuming that all went to plan, Vīrāsana (Hero pose) may be adopted. If the Oral Proceedings were before the Board of Appeal, Vīrabhadrāsana (Distinguished hero pose) may be appropriate.

  3. Unfortunately, I'm not aware that yoga has the most appropriate pose for WIPO bureaucrats dealing with patent policy:


  4. There was a copyright case relating to Bikram Yoga and it was settled out of court.Patents on devices/accessories for performing Yoga had been issued.But yoga postures per se cannot be patented.
    I had discussed these issues at length in my article on traditional knowledge,yoga and intellectual property rights.
    It can be downloaded free of cost
    from SSRN

    dr.krishna ravi srinivas

  5. In honour of Bass's famous UK trade mark number 00000001, how about the Triangle Pose?

  6. How about the Headstand, for when you really can't fathom how the examiner has applied the citation to your claims...

  7. Wasn't there a lot of legal chatter over there in the US about how much money Chrissie Evert Lloyd could have made if she'd patented that double handed backhand all those years ago? Or Dick Fosbury his way of jumping backwards over a high jump bar? (the Fosbury flop).

  8. This is a very interesting post. Patenting centuries old positions which are "common knowledge", doesn't seem like a viable idea to me.


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