Postscript to A dash of yoga…

Turns out I was wrong and Michael Moore had best pan his camera on this side of the world…

Today’s Times of India (Front Page) reads:

India to protest grant of yoga patents by US
30 May, 2007, Sidhartha/TIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: The Indian government has decided to lodge its protest against yoga-related patents issued by the US Patents & Trademarks Office.

While the health ministry has decided to take up the issue directly with USPTO, the commerce department is writing to the US Trade Representative against what it sees as a violation of rights over traditional knowledge.

If the move fails to impress USPTO, government is prepared for a legal battle to get the patents and trademarks vacated.

Officials said government was of the opinion that USPTO has been careless in granting patents and trademarks in matters related to traditional knowledge.

While details of a counter-offensive by government are still being worked out, sources indicated that a protest was the first line of attack. There is a digital traditional-knowledge library, which has enough reference material, and a proper search should be done before USPTO grants a patent, India is telling the US authorities.

US-based Bikram Choudhury has applied for a patent of yoga practised in a steam-room. USPTO is learnt to have issued 150 yoga-related copyrights, 124 trademarks on yoga accessories and 2,315 yoga trademarks so far.

“It’s ridiculous to even think that an asana which has been practised for several years can be patented just because they think it is different. They have not been looking at the digital library,” said an official.



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2 thoughts on “Postscript to A dash of yoga…”

  1. Dear Shweta,

    Once again IP seems to be subject matter of discussion in media after Mashelkar’s issue.

    Well after reading various news articles and watching discussion on news channels it seems that no one is bothered what exactly they are talking about. There seems to be hell lot of confusion and no one is clear whether the issue is about Copyright, Trademark or Patent. Moreover recently there was a young MP in one of the news channel frantically talking on the issue started with Yoga Patents and ended up with Trademark.

    So my question is has anyone seen Bikram’s Patent application, his claims as what exactly he is trying to claim in his Patent application? Or is it just a case of Copyright or Trademark matter? These are the questions which yet to be answered.

    But needless to say Indian media is so irresponsible and takes up any issue without clarifying the essence of the matter.

    Nevertheless IP is again in limelight in India.

    Best regards,
    Vikram Singh

  2. Vikram,

    As Shamnad has also explained after my post there is not a shred of ambiguity in the real issue. There is no patent application, nor grant. It is a copyright alone that has been granted to Bikram Chaudhuri and hence an effective chanllenge to the grant will have to be structured on copyright law principles. Everyone is wasting their breath talking about patent laws, traditional knowledge, novelty, public domain issues, ect. when they are not even relevant to the actual controversy. Hence our angst!

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