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Protection Of Traditional Knowledge

The skills,practices or a knowledge about anything that are developed, sustained, and pass on from generation to generation within a community, culture is known as traditional knowledge. For example, we all know that mustered oil is good for hair, but from where it comes or its origin we don't know, or any special food items that are only found in certain parts of the country or the proverb used by oue grandparent. India itself has 398 languages of which 387 living and 11 extinct languages.

So, there is no accepted definition of traditional knowledge at the international level but it can be said that it is a knowledge of culture and tradition including signs and symbols or regarding plants, and skills innovations. It is something that has ancient roots and is shared orally. It an old knowledge. For some knowledge, there is no justified protection. It also shows us how things or a certain knowledge or information evolves and use.

Yoga is now known by world wide, and its here from centuries. Ayurvedic medicine are used from centuries, even in Ramayana, lord lam used medicine to save his brother Lakshmana. These are the some examples.

Different types of classification of TK:
  • Elder,healer or shamans kept secrate their Sacred Knowledge
  • Knowledge that are restricted to a certain family, clan and the holder of the knowledge ensued proper use of knowledge usually in context of the community from where the holder belongs.
  • Communal Knowledge that are in public domain.

Every country wants to protect their country's traditional knowledge. There are several challenges in the protection of traditional knowledge, for example, no one knows the exact origin of that particular knowledge or there is no written proof of that or by which law traditional knowledge may be protected or how it can get protection for more than 20 years.

In IPR positive protection and defensive mechanismare the two methordsto protect TK

Positive Protection- it is available to all traditional knowledge holders with the right to take necessary action and seek remedies against the misuse of the knowledge base. It is the enactment of specific rules and regulations and laws, as well as access to benefit-sharing provisions, royalty payments, etc.

Defensive mechanism- it refers to the step taken by traditional knowledge owners to prevent the acquisition of their intellectual property rights. These knowledge holders protect intellectual property rights that are illegitimately acquired by third parties.

The protection of traditional knowledge came into existence to tackle the problem of biopiracy. So then what is biopiracy?

Biopiracy describes how developed worlds claim ownership or take unfair advantage for a free ride on the traditional resources and knowledge

An example of this is the use of indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants, and herbs, for patenting pharmaceutical companies without understanding that the information is neither new nor developed by the patentee.

Colgate Case

As colgate is worlf wide, and it is patented its tooth cleaning powder. The patent was granted in the U.S. in june on groundbreaking red herbal dentifrice. However the indian activosts that the ingredients like clove oil, camphor, black pepper, spearmint have been used for hundreds of years for the same purpose

the patent filing argued that the old recipe became new and not intended to pay royalties. The matter is still panding before USPTO, however india is in process to make a 34 million wep pages document to prevent this.

Turmeric Case

This is a leading case in traditional knowledge. India claimed that india uses/knows about its healing property from centuries and showed some evidences. The patent then revoked by USPTO.

International Forum To Protect Traditional Knowledge

Several international organizations, including the World Health Organisation, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the Conservation of Biological Diversity, among others, are trying to conserve traditional knowledge.

Convention On Biological Diversity

During the Rio submission, 150 government officials signed the Convention on Biological Diversity. Its principal goal is to advance sustainable development.

Article 8(j) of the convension refers To safeguard and conservation.

Article 10(c) refers requirement for conservation and sustainable use of the biological resources.

Article 15.5 refers to mentioning of prior informed consent to acces genetic resources.

Article 17 referst to the exchange of information by the indegent to local people.

Article 16 refers to traditional knowledge as a key technology for effective practices of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

The world trade organization seeks cooperation from other countries to protect traditional knowledge. WIPO is important to patent and trademark and the innovation which came from the traditional knowledge and to protect it in form of trade secrets, geographical indication or confidential information.

The above-mentioned are the some convention for the protection of traditional knowledge.

Protection Of Traditional Knowledge In India

The USPTO granted so many patent but india has succeeded or withdrawal of 36 patent application which was based on medical formulas. It is due to the digital library that was build for the protection of traditional knowledge. In 2002, a collaborative project between CSIR and AYUSH was held. Its all started when USPTO granted patent on turmeric's healing power the patent granted by European patent office (EPO) on the antifungal properties of neem.

It contain 34 millions pages of prepared data about 2260000 in different languages like Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, urdu, table, and others. It was initially used by the patent examiner to check prior art before granting patent. It is only one that is present in whole world.

Traditional knowledge is the one of the greatest assets and every countries foundation. It distinquist a country and a great source of knowledge. As it is a legacy ofa country fron the ancestors, At the international level, efforts have been made to implement the access and benefit-sharing system, the sui generis legal protection system, the intellectual property law protection system, and the public domain. International bodies, however, have struggled to put in place meaningful protection for traditional knowledge.

The system needs to be reformed because it is out of balance to protect such ancient knowledge. Inculcating informal rules that can effectively execute the protection of traditional knowledge is urgently needed. Consequently, there is a critical need to safeguard traditional knowledge. Both national and international action must be done. However, there is an urgent need for international action because no nation is equipped to provide such security on its own.

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