Wednesday, April 6, 2011

India approves free access to important portions of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library

The EPO has noted that the Indian Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a resource of immense importance with regard to patent claims and 'bio-piracy' in the India sub-continent. WIPO has also given much praise to the TKDL.

In a recent welcome development, the Science and Development Network reports that India has provisionally agreed to allow free access to a small portion of its traditional knowledge in order to support the battle to combat malaria, cholera and other diseases which threaten the lives of people in the developing world.

The Science and Development Network reports:

"So far, access to the TKDL has been restricted to agreed users — mainly patent offices worldwide — for fear of it being misused for commercial purposes, according to V. K. Gupta, the library's director. Now, there are plans to release a small part of the information, which focuses on diseases of the poor, into the public domain, said Samir Brahmachari, director-general of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), where the project is hosted."

This development could give weight to the argument that the taking of measures to safeguard and protect TK should not necessarily prevent giving access to the TK for non-profit purposes.

More information on this important development can be found here

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