The USPTO had introduced an information sharing program with the Government of India designed to prevent the improper patenting of traditional knowledge. The information being shared expanded the class of publications under 35 U.S.C. §§ 102(a)-(b), commonly used to deny a patent to an applicant.
The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) has been made accessible to the Examiners at the USPTO and as such the Examiners can reference and cite the TKDL information in an office action.
It seems that this provision might be tested soon. In an application 12/721507 filed at the USPTO, the applicant claimed a process for the treatment of skin cancer which includes topically applying to an affected area of a human patient in need of such treatment a therapeutically effective amount of a capsicum extract (fresh raw Capsicum fruit and a carrier).
The CSIR has submitted a 3rd party protest against the grant of such a patent by pleading that, “”[S]ufficient prior arts are available in Indian system of medicine, e.g. in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha in relation to the
claims made in the application.”
However, a first office action has yet to be issued in this case and it remains to be seen how (or even if) the Examiner cites the TKDL information repository against the claimed invention. We shall keep you posted on the same.