Alternative medicine as we call our ancient traditional system of natural remedies is now garnering more attention than ever. Many brands including cosmetic and nutrition are now delving deeper into the roots of these scripts to formulate the next big thing. As such, it has become very crucial to patent the tradition treasure troves of knowledge and wisdom so that the credit is given to its due system.
This is where TKDL came into being. Read on to find exciting details about the traditional knowledge digital library.
What is TKDL?
The treasure of ancient wisdom has generally been passed from generations to generations through oral means. Even, the classical literatures available in these contexts are unapproachable or the language is hard to decipher. As such, many indigenous innovations, inventions or discoveries are misused or wrongly patented by companies causing huge loss to the parent country.
So, TKDL was an initiative of AYUSH to collaborate, elucidate and translate traditional manuscripts in languages and format understandable by patent examiners at International Patent Offices (IPOs), so as to prevent the grant of wrong patents. It is a digital database of authentic translations that gives a glimpse of the magnitude and significance of Indian traditional medicinal system
Why is TKDL needed?
India’s traditional knowledge is scripted in local texts which are inaccessible and incomprehensible to patent examiners overseas. As such, issues of bio piracy started emerging in the late 1990s with the patent fight for turmeric and basmati rice by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and for neem by European Patent Office (EPO).
Due to the existence of India’s infinite traditional medicine knowledge in traditional languages like Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Tamil, examiners at International Patent Offices (IPO) faced problems in terms of authenticating the invention claims. Following this debacle department of AYUSH, emphasized the creation of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL).
The focus of TKDL was on breaking the language and format barriers by scientifically converting and structuring the available TK in IPC. The knowledge obtained from ancient Indian texts is stored in 34 million A4 size pages and translated into five foreign languages – in Japanese, English, Spanish, German and French.
Accordingly, TKDL has shattered the language and format barriers and made the knowledge available to patent examiners in their own language and in a format which is easily understandable.
Benefits of TKDL
TKDL has successfully identified 1,000 cases of bio piracy of India’s TK in the last 3 years.
So far, TKDL has saved 500 crore rupees by avoiding such situations.
In 105 cases, patent claims were withdrawn or cancelled by the patent offices at zero costs.
The converted format of the traditional knowledge is easy and readable to any layman.
The available options in TKDL also convert traditional terminologies into modern ones, for example, Jwar to fever, Turmeric to Curcuma longa, Mussorika to small pox, etc.
TKDL includes a search interface featuring advanced search options.
TKDL serves as a bridge between formulations existing in local languages and a patent examiner at a global level.
TKDL has made waves around the world, particularly in TK-rich countries by demonstrating the advantages of proactive action and the power of strong deterrence. The idea is not to restrict the use of traditional knowledge, but to ensure that wrong patents are not granted due to lack of access to the prior art for Patent examiners.