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India's TKDL

We first reported on the use of Traditional Knowledge Digital Libraries as a means of fighting biopiracy nearly a year ago, and now the BBC has an update. India's TKDL is set to be opened for public viewing next year, and already holds 30 million pages of entries covering traditional medicines and practices, with photographs, scans and abundant detail. The goal isn't to restrict the use of these traditional medicines, but to ensure that they cannot be patented in places like the United States and Europe because of a lack of documented "prior art."

This will enable the revocation of patents on millennia-old plant-based medicines and health practices such as yoga -- various yoga positions have been patented in the US and Europe, despite their ancient history.

Comments (3)

does this mean that traditional medicines from india can be used in a way similar to india's pharm companies that make generics of still in copyright drugs? i.e. this library will make their traditional medicines free for anyone to use?

Amit Kucheria:

They have always been free for anyone to use. It is common knowledge in India society. e.g. Haldi (turnmeric) with milk was used successfully on me in childhood to cure common cold. It is to fight the illegal patenting activities of (mostly) US and other western companies, that India had to resort to this website IMHO.

Amit Kucheria:

That was 'turmeric' up there.


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