Traditional knowledge of medicine is an important part of India’s cultural heritage and plays a significant role in the country’s healthcare system. However, pharmaceutical companies have been known to exploit traditional knowledge and patent it for commercial gain, leading to concerns about the protection of traditional knowledge. To address this issue, the government of India has taken several steps to protect traditional knowledge of medicine from patenting by pharmaceutical companies, including:
- Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL): The government has created the TKDL, which is a database of traditional knowledge related to Ayurveda, Unani, and other systems of medicine. This database is available in multiple languages and can be accessed by patent examiners to prevent the grant of patents on traditional knowledge.
- Prior Art Search: The government has made it mandatory for patent examiners to conduct a prior art search before granting a patent to ensure that the invention is novel and not based on traditional knowledge.
- Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS): The government has implemented the ABS framework to ensure that the benefits arising from the use of traditional knowledge are shared with the communities that have generated or maintained such knowledge.
- Traditional Knowledge Resource Classification (TKRC): The government has developed the TKRC to provide a standard classification system for traditional knowledge resources related to medicine.
- Traditional Knowledge Protection Office (TKPO): The government has set up the TKPO to provide legal and technical assistance to traditional knowledge holders and to coordinate with various stakeholders in protecting traditional knowledge.
- National IPR Policy: The government has included the protection of traditional knowledge in its National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy.
In conclusion, the government of India has taken several steps to protect traditional knowledge of medicine from patenting by pharmaceutical companies, including the creation of the TKDL, mandatory prior art search, ABS framework, TKRC, TKPO, and inclusion in the National IPR Policy. These measures aim to ensure that traditional knowledge is not misappropriated for commercial gain and that the benefits arising from the use of traditional knowledge are shared with the communities that have generated or maintained such knowledge.