1. Traditional knowledge
Name of students-
• Kritika Hanamshet (MTI-09018)
• Abinash Sahoo (MTI-09036)
• Abhishek A.P. Singh (MTI-09042)
• Clyde Vincent (MTI-09044)
• Priyanka Yadav (MTI-09048)
Dr. D. Y. Patil University of Biotechnology And Bioinformatics,
C.B.D. Belapur, Navi Mumbai, India.
2. Definition: tradition-based literary, artistic, or scientific
works; performances; inventions; scientific discoveries;
designs; marks, names, and symbols; undisclosed
information; and all other tradition-based innovations
and creations resulting from intellectual activity in the
industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields.
Application of turmeric, neem, Jamun,
4. Defensive protection aims to stop people outside the community from acquiring
intellectual property rights over traditional knowledge. India, for example, has
compiled a searchable database of traditional medicine that can be used as
evidence of prior art by patent examiners when assessing patent applications.
This followed a well-known case in which the US Patent and Trademark Office
granted a patent (later revoked) for the use of turmeric to treat wounds, a
property well known to traditional communities in India and documented in
ancient Sanskrit texts
Positive protection is the granting of rights that empower communities to
promote their traditional knowledge, control its uses and benefit from its
commercial exploitation. Some uses of traditional knowledge can be protected
through the existing intellectual property system, and a number of countries have
also developed specific legislation. However, any specific protection afforded
under national law may not hold for other countries, one reason why many
indigenous and local communities as well as governments are pressing for an
international legal instrument.
5. India‟s TKDL, a collaborative project between the Council of
Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the Department of
AYUSH, is a home-grown effort to ensure patent offices around
the world do not grant patents for applications founded on India‟s
wealth of age-old TK.
Cases on wound healing properties of turmeric, and the antifungal
properties of neem acted as stimulants for the formation of TKDL.
6. So in June 1999: Recognition of need of creation of
Traditional Knowledge (TK) data bases and need of support
to developing countries by Standing Committee on
Information Technology (SCIT) of World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO).
January, 2001: Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs
(CCEA's) approval on TKDL Project
7. Neem tree (Azadirachta indica), the tree of miracles.
Ayurvedic literature -„Neem bark is cool, bitter, acrid and refrigerant
Attractive broad-leaved, evergreen, up to 30m tall.Trunk is 30-80 cm in diameter.
Essential oils, fatty acids, amino acids and chemicals such as nimbin, nimbinin and
Seeds ,leaves oil, bark , roots have medicinal properties.
Tiredness, cough, fever, loss of appetite,
worm infestation, vomiting, skin diseases
Originates from the Indian subcontinent and
now grows in the dry regions of
more than 50 tropical countries.
8. Used for centuries by local communities in agriculture as an insect and pest
repellent, in human and veterinary medicine, toiletries and cosmetics.
Since the 1980s, many neem related process and products have been patented in
Japan, USA and European countries.
USA (54) , Japan (35), Australia (23), India (14). In India more than 53 patent
applications are pending.
The India and United States were involved in a biopiracy dispute.
In 1994, European Patent Office (EPO) granted a patent (EPO patent No.436257) to the
US Corporation W.R. Grace Company and US Department of Agriculture.
Neem-based bio-pesticides Neemix, for use on food crops
Granting of a patent to a neem-based crop fungicide by the
European Patent Office (EPO).
In 2000 EPO revoked patent following an appeal by India.
9. Vandana Shiva of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and
Ecology(RFSTE) said "It was pure and simple piracy. The oil from neem has been
used traditionally by farmers to prevent fungus. It was neither a novel idea nor was it
It got support of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements
(IFOAM) and green euro-deputies.
The backbone of the Indian argument, presented before the EPO by Professor U P
Singh, an agricultural scientist at the Benaras Hindu University, was that the fungicidal
qualities of the neem tree - a traditional plant known for its medicinal properties -- and
its use has been known in India for over 2,000 years.
EPO agreed that the process for which the patent had been granted had actually been in
use in India for many years.
Calling the EPO decision an historic one, Shiva said: "Patenting is one of the ways
through which traditional users can be threatened. The free tree will stay free.
10. A tropical herb grown in East India. powdered product made from the rhizomes of its
flowers has several popular uses worldwide.
Turmeric powder has a distinctive deep yellow color and bitter taste.
Used as a dye, a cooking ingredient, and a litmus in a chemical test, and has medicinal
In the mid-1990s, turmeric became the subject of a patent dispute.
A U.S. patent (no.5, 401,504) on turmeric was awarded to the
University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1995, specifically
for the "use of turmeric in wound healing."
Two years later, a complaint was filed by India's
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR).
11. In India, where turmeric has been used medicinally for thousands of years, concerns
grew about the economically and socially damaging impact of this legal biopiracy.
CSIR argued that turmeric has been used for thousands of years for healing wounds and
rashes and therefore its medicinal use was not a novel invention.
Their claim was supported by documentary evidence of traditional knowledge,
including ancient Sanskrit text and a paper published in 1953 in the Journal of the
Indian Medical Association.
United States Patent and Trademark Office (US PTO) investigated the validity of this
In 1997, despite an appeal by the patent holders, the US PTO upheld the CSIR
objections and cancelled the patent.
The turmeric case was a landmark judgment case as it was for the first time that a patent
based on the traditional knowledge of a developing country was successfully
12. Case study – Patent issue Jamun
, Brinjal, and karela
The use of „karela‟, „jamun‟ and brinjal for control of diabetes is
common knowledge and everyday practice in India. The use of these
substances in the treatment of diabetes dates back many centuries in
India and is mentioned in several ancient texts on healing such as
“Wealth of India”', the “Compendium of Indian Medicinal Plants” and
the “Treatise on Indian Medicinal Plants”.
13. A patent number 5,900,240 was granted recently to Cromak
Research Inc based in New Jersey to a team comprising two non-
resident Indian scientists Onkar S Tomer and Kripanath Borah, and
their colleague Peter Glomski. The American patent was granted on
an edible composition comprising a mixture of at least two herbs
selected from the group consisting of jamun, bitter gourd or bitter
melon (Karela), and eggplant (brinjal) .
The herbal mixtures have been cited as dietary supplements and are
claimed to be especially useful for lowering the glucose level in
blood among those suffering from diabetes.
14. The patent was challenged on the ground of prior art.
However, Article 102 of the U.S. Patent Law, which defines prior
art, does not recognise technologies and methods in use in other
countries as prior art. If knowledge is new for the U.S., it is
novel, even if it is part of an ancient tradition of other cultures
and countries.. Because of this, the Jamun could be patented in
the USA. But it does created hue and cry in India for such a
patent as it was considered to be a biopiracy i.e. theft of Indian
•Globalization have caused misuse of traditional knowledge for monopolistic
rights and the ultimate profit from its sales.
•So there is a strict need of awareness for the traditional procedures and
•Documentation activities undertaken by developing countries like India are
•Therefore the protection, conservation and preservation of the traditional
knowledge and its practice and culture should be of major concern.
•In order to prevent the misuse by unauthorized parties of traditional
knowledge and promotion of its use and its importance in development.