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Traditional Knowledge Digital Library Protects India's Traditional Knowledge from Bio-Piracy

The Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh highlighted the role of India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (the “TKDL”) in protecting traditional knowledge systems from biopiracy and unethical patents at the recent Conference of Paris to Convention on Biological Diversity. 

The TKDL is a representative database containing vast amount of formulations selected from various classical texts of medicine.  The impetus of creating the TKDL by the Indian government in 2001 was the granting of the patent on the use of neem tree extract in Europe and another patent in US on the use of turmeric as a healing agent. Since then, the database has grown into 34 million pages of information in five international languages in formats accessibly by patent examiners. The TKDL plays a significant role for India in indentifying biopiracy and winning patent claims. 

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office signed an agreement with India in 2010 that would allow Canadian patent examiners to access the TKDL.

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