Indigenous Software starts its march against Biopiracy of Traditional Medical Knowledge of India!

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Special symbols to denote ancient Indian medicinal formulations are helping identify and catch bio-pirates, who are trying to illegally patent existing knowledge. 

India has put in place a unique "global bio-piracy watch system" through which, whenever somebody files a patent application in any of the seven largest patent offices in the world, scientists sitting in India immediately get to know about it following which the application is checked "for prior knowledge". 

The International Patent Classification (IPC) is a system, which boasts of 69,000 symbols — each indicating the subject to which the invention relates to. 

India has 400 such unique symbols, under IPC, which is specific for medicinal plants and traditional Indian medicinal systems like ayurveda, Siddha, unani and yoga.

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) creator Dr V K Gupta said, "We have created and installed a software that scans all patent systems for such applications. Whenever anybody in the world files an application concerning Indian systems of medicine or plant formulations, we immediately get a tip-off following which we check the details. Till now, we have filed our evidence in 500 cases — of which we have succeeded in stopping patents being granted in 44 cases." 

Till 10 years ago, about 2,000 wrong patents concerning Indian systems of medicine were being granted annually at international level. On an average, it took five to seven years to oppose a granted patent at international levels, and it would cost around $0.2-0.6 million. Over 2.26 lakh rare medical formulations, which were part of the country's ancient Indian texts, have been dug out, transcribed, documented and digitized to protect them from bio-pirates. This includes 1.22 lakh Unani, 90,000 ayurveda and 15,000 Siddha formulations, which have been transcribed by the department of AYUSH and Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) from ancient Indian texts written originally in Sanskrit, Arabic, Urdu, Persian and Tamil. They have now been translated in five international languages — English, Japanese, French, German and Spanish — for intellectual property rights across the world to refer to it whenever an application for patent comes up "from western bio-pirates." 

Dr Gupta said, 
"Our target is to document 350,000 medical formulations of AYUSH in the next two years." 
India has also completed documenting 1,300 asanas and video graphing 250 asanas, which will be uploaded on the TKDL for IPR organizations soon. 

Dr Gupta added, "We will soon make public 50 of the most popular postures so that yoga teachers across the globe can't call them their creation and apply for patents. Chances of misappropriation with these postures are higher. Nine well-known yoga institutions in India have helped with the documentation." 

TKDL will have photos and explanation of these postures. CSIR has screened several ancient books like Srimad Bhagwat Gita, Vyas Bhashya, Yogasava Vijana, Hatha Praditika, Gheranda Samhita, Shiva Samhita, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Sandra Satkarma to document all known asanas and yoga references, according to Dr Gupta.

News Courtesy: Times of India

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