Ayurveda Medicines to get Patents
By Ritu Kocher
Ayurveda has grown from being an antique tradition to a being a conceptual science being evolved around principles of health. It’s not just about using herbs or other natural products as drugs but also using therapies to correct disturbed balance of the body.
The ‘miracles’ of Ayurveda are continuously proven and it is this indulgence that more and more people are inclining towards it. India possesses the most authentic traditional knowledge of Ayurveda, and with science backing it up many new medicines are invented every day. But because our Patent laws obstruct Ayurveda to be patented, a lot of these medicines are then unrightfully taken up by international organization.
In the light of such incidents there was an urgent need to amend laws of patent with pragmatic promotional policies. The Government has taken measures to safeguard the national interest in respect of grant of patents based on indigenous medicinal / herbal products / plants, besides exclusions provided for in the Patents Act 1970.
This is what it includes –
- Patents cannot be granted to plants, including medicinal/ herbal plants, or any part thereof including seeds, varieties and species and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants.
- An invention, which in effect, is traditional knowledge or which is an aggregation or duplication of known properties of traditionally known component or components, is not patentable under Section 3(p) of the Patents Act, 1970.
- The Government has established the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) with the objective of preventing misappropriation of Indian traditional knowledge on Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha medicinal systems. The TKDL has been prepared in five languages, namely English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish in patent compatible format. It makes available Indian traditional knowledge which are already in public domain, to the patent examiners so that such patent applications which claim Indian traditional knowledge are rejected at the examination stage itself.
- The TKDL has been made available to select Patent Offices in the world for conducting prior art search for Indian traditional knowledge and not to grant patent if the subject-matter under the patent application pertains to the Indian traditional knowledge.
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research files opposition in various patent offices across the world against any patent applications based on Indian Traditional Knowledge.