Traditional knowledge digital library

Traditional knowledge digital library

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at protecting India’s vast repository of traditional knowledge. This comprehensive digital database safeguards indigenous medicinal knowledge, preventing bio-piracy and ensuring rightful recognition and benefits to local communities. At Vera Causa Legal, we offer specialized IPR services to help navigate the complexities of traditional knowledge protection. Our expert team assists in leveraging TKDL resources for robust intellectual property strategies, ensuring your innovations are well-protected and legally compliant. Discover how our IPR services can empower you to ethically and effectively utilize traditional knowledge in your ventures.

Introduction

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is an innovative effort by India to protect its traditional medicinal knowledge and prevent its misuse in international patent offices. Traditional Knowledge (TK) is crucial for indigenous and local communities, many of whom rely on it for their livelihood and healthcare. Over 70% of India’s population depends on traditional medicine, and its global use has been increasing, making it more susceptible to exploitation. A notable incident was the granting of a US patent for the wound-healing properties of turmeric, highlighting the risks of not actively protecting TK. The time, effort, and money spent to revoke this patent at the USPTO demonstrated the need for a proactive approach to safeguard TK. The challenge is compounded by the fact that much of India’s traditional medicinal knowledge is recorded in languages like Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Tamil, and other ancient dialects, making it inaccessible and incomprehensible to international patent examiners.

Objectives of Traditional knowledge digital library

India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a groundbreaking initiative designed to safeguard its traditional medicinal knowledge from being misappropriated by international patent offices. Traditional Knowledge (TK) is a vital resource for many indigenous and local communities, providing essential healthcare and livelihoods. In India, more than 70% of the population relies on traditional medicine. As interest in traditional medicine grows worldwide, so does the risk of its exploitation. The US patent granted for turmeric’s wound-healing properties underscores the need to actively protect TK. The effort to revoke this patent at the USPTO highlighted the necessity of a proactive protection mechanism. This issue is further complicated by the fact that India’s traditional medicinal knowledge is often recorded in languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Tamil, and other ancient dialects, making it difficult for international patent examiners to access and understand this knowledge.

Impact of Traditional knowledge digital library on the world

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a pioneering effort by India to protect its traditional medicinal knowledge and prevent its misuse in international patent offices. Traditional Knowledge (TK) is essential for many indigenous and local communities, who rely on it for their livelihoods and healthcare needs. In India, over 70% of the population depends on traditional medicine. With global interest in traditional medicine on the rise, its vulnerability to exploitation increases. The US patent granted for turmeric’s wound-healing properties highlighted the dangers of not actively protecting TK. The process of revoking this patent at the USPTO underscored the need for a proactive approach to TK protection. Additionally, much of India’s traditional medicinal knowledge is documented in languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Tamil, and other ancient dialects, making it challenging for international patent examiners to access and understand this information.

In 2003, the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) set global standards for databases of traditional knowledge (TK). WIPO’s Intergovernmental Committee adopted these standards. TKDL combines Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Yoga, and various languages, linking ancient medical texts with international patent examiners. It sources data from Indian medicine books that are publicly available. Sixteen patent offices worldwide can access TKDL under a Non-disclosure Agreement approved by India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. This includes offices in Europe, the U.S., Japan, and others. Examiners use TKDL to search for patents while ensuring that the information remains confidential to prevent misuse.

TKDL’s success lies in its proactive approach to safeguarding traditional knowledge. It provides patent examiners worldwide with comprehensive access to TK-related prior art, enabling them to make informed decisions during the patent examination process. This ensures that patents are granted accurately, without encroaching on existing traditional knowledge systems.

Internationally recognized, TKDL serves as a critical defense mechanism against biopiracy. It demonstrates how integrating traditional knowledge into patent examination procedures can prevent unjust monopolization of indigenous resources and innovations. By facilitating access to TK-related prior art, TKDL not only protects cultural heritage but also fosters fair and equitable patent practices globally.

languages used in Traditional knowledge digital library

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) has addressed language and format challenges by converting and organizing ancient Indian medical texts on Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Sowa Rigpa, and Yoga into five international languages: English, Japanese, French, German, and Spanish. Using IT tools and the innovative Traditional Knowledge Resource Classification (TKRC), over 454,000 formulations/practices have been documented. TKRC has further classified Indian Traditional Medicine into numerous subgroups, enhancing the search and examination of prior art in patent applications by expanding sub-groups under A61K 36/00 in the International Patent Classification.

Important note

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) has proven to be a formidable tool in protecting traditional knowledge (TK) from biopiracy on the global stage. By leveraging TKDL’s database of prior art, which includes traditional medicinal formulations and other forms of indigenous knowledge, over 324 patent applications have been effectively challenged. These challenges have resulted in patents being withdrawn, amended, or set aside swiftly and without significant cost. In stark contrast, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has spent seven crores solely on legal fees to contest a handful of claims related to Basmati rice patents.

Moreover, TKDL’s impact underscores the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of preemptive measures in intellectual property protection. Unlike costly legal battles, TKDL enables swift resolutions that benefit both patent applicants and indigenous communities. This approach not only upholds the principles of justice and equity but also supports sustainable development by preserving biodiversity and traditional practices.

In essence, TKDL stands as a model for proactive intellectual property management, emphasizing the importance of integrating traditional knowledge into global patent systems. Its success in influencing patent outcomes underscores the value of collaborative efforts between indigenous communities, governments, and international bodies to protect and promote traditional knowledge worldwide.

Conclusion

 That the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) currently operates on a restricted access model, it is highly recommended to make it publicly accessible. This change would significantly benefit scientists by advancing their research efforts. Additionally, it would enable applicants to become aware of existing prior art in their respective fields, fostering innovation and preventing the duplication of efforts. Opening TKDL to the public would thus support both scientific progress and intellectual property management, leading to more informed and effective research and development activities.

Frequently asked question on TKDL

What are the objectives of TKDL?

TKDL aims to block patents for products developed using traditional knowledge, particularly when minimal or no inventive steps are involved.

What are the impacts of TKDL on the world?

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) features a comprehensive global biopiracy surveillance system that monitors patent applications associated with Indian medicinal practices. This system effectively identifies and prevents the unauthorized use of this traditional knowledge by third parties attempting to secure patents in various international patent offices.

How can we preserve traditional knowledge?

Positive protection and defensive mechanism. Positive protection involves granting traditional knowledge holders the legal rights to take action and seek remedies against the misuse or exploitation of their knowledge base. It ensures that these communities can safeguard their intellectual property and cultural heritage. By providing a formal mechanism for addressing grievances, positive protection empowers traditional knowledge holders to defend their interests, uphold their rights, and secure justice against any unauthorized use or misappropriation of their valuable knowledge. This approach not only preserves traditional knowledge but also respects the contributions of indigenous and local communities to global cultural and intellectual diversity.

What are the benefits of TKDL?

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) serves to stop patents from being issued for inventions derived from traditional knowledge that lack significant novelty. By documenting ancient knowledge, TKDL ensures that traditional practices and remedies cannot be claimed as new inventions by others. This protects the intellectual heritage of indigenous communities and prevents the misappropriation of their cultural wisdom. Consequently, TKDL plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of traditional knowledge systems and supports the fair recognition of indigenous contributions to various fields, such as medicine and agriculture, without allowing for undue exploitation.

Who established the TKDL?

India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a groundbreaking initiative created through the collaboration between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Ministry of AYUSH. This project aims to safeguard Indian traditional knowledge from misappropriation and exploitation. TKDL ensures the protection of indigenous practices by documenting and digitizing them, thus providing a robust defense against unauthorized patents at global Patent Offices. By preserving ancient wisdom, TKDL plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and heritage of India’s rich traditional knowledge systems, spanning Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa, and Homeopathy.

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