India is a land of rich traditional knowledge. Several types of traditional medicine approaches of the country like Ayurvada, Unani, Sidha, Yoga etc contains large number of treatments and medicines. But sophisticated MNCs from the West can exploit such age old knowledge by taking patent on them. To block such commercial exploitation, India is preparing a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) which collects and furnishes information about various traditional knowledge medicines.
Once collected, the information with the TKDL will be provided to patent examiners in other countries so that they can verify whether an applicant uses traditional knowledge of India. if any traditional knowledge is used, the Patent application can be rejected.
TKDL provides information on traditional knowledge existing in the country, in languages and format understandable by patent examiners at International Patent Offices (IPOs). This will check granting of patents on India’s traditional knowledge.
One real problem is that most of the traditional knowledge are preserved in classical or local languages like Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil etc. Hence this should be collected and converted into foreign languages.
Under TKDL, documentation about traditional knowledge available in the form of existing literature related to Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Yoga, are done in digitized format. Then it will be translated into five international languages -English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish.
TKDL is a collaborative project between Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Science and Technology and Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The project is implemented at CSIR. For the project, an inter-disciplinary team comprising of Traditional Medicine (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Yoga) experts, patent examiners, IT persons, scientists and technical officers are participating for the creation of TKDL.