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Status Of Traditional Knowledge Under The Patent Law In India

the first legislation in india relating to patents was ACT VI of 1856. From the immemorial, from music and dance to science and technology, ideas and inventions have been transferred from one generation to other one within various communities. Today's practice can be set to be a collective knowledge of all the inventions and innovations that occurred over a period of time and then transferred as traditional knowledge. Having being transferred with the communities over generations, these ideas and inventions and ideas have developed a cultural attachment with in the community. The community thereby, encouraging ownership of the community for the particular set of knowledge.

Recent trends shows that many of these practices and ideas have now become the basic of new invention.

Contrary to the nature of traditional knowledge that promotes community intrest, patent law encourages private monopoly and profit. however, in the commercial world prevailing today, such amalgam of traditional knowledge and patent law have gained recognition.

Patent Law

Under this law patent rights are granted for inventions covering a new inventive process, product or an article of manufacture that are able to satisfy the patent eligibility requirements of having novelty, inventive steps, and are capable of industrial application.

Traditional Knowledge And Patent Law:

Indian patent laws do not permit the protection of traditional knowledge under section 3(p) of the indian patent act, 1970. an investigation which in effect, traditional knowledge or which is is an aggregation or duplication of known properties of traditionally known components is not an inventions and cannot be passed.

Protecting India's Traditional Knowledge:

There are legal remedies within the Indian judicial system that can help in protecting traditional knowledge.

For example:
 equitable benefits shairing is an agreement that two parties, including indigenous communities, can sign in order to use the knowledge bank for commercial use.

Concepts, Meaning, And Definitions:

It refers to : knowledge or practices passed down from generation to generation that from part of the traditions or heritage of indeginious communities. knowledge or practices for which indeginious communities knowledge act as the guardians or custodians.

it is the awareness, experience, expertise, knowledge and applications that are established, continued, performed and passed from generation to generation with in a region or community, often forming a part of its cultural, social or spiritual identify.


  • This term is used by the ancient time tribal people and by indigenous local communities under the local laws, customs, and culture.
  • It has been transferred and expanded from generation to generation.
  • The role of T.K is very important in making a country more developed.

  • The Indian Patent Office (IPO), on November 8, 2012, has onnounced new guidelines for issuing patents based on traditional knowledge (T.K)
  • The I.P.O already has patents law in place, and the new guidelines have evoked a strong response from the industry and scientific community.

Understanding The Concept:
Traditional knowledge (TK) is the knowledge, know- how, skills and practices that are developed, sustained and passed on from generation to generation within the community, often forming part of its cultural or spiritual identity.

Traditional Knowledge And Modern Knowledge:

Traditional Knowledge:

  • Communication is usually oral
  • Forecast methods are documented
  • Applied at local level

Modern Knowledge:

  • Communication is usually written
  • Forecast methods are documented and more developed
  • Lack relevance at the local level

Who Owns Traditional Knowledge?

According to a journal information AJEET MATHUR owns the traditional knowledge.

Measures Taken / Steps:

  • Knowledge exchange
  • Skills developed
  • Socialization
  • Motivating learner

  • Classroom size
  • Accessibility
  • Expensive to deliver
  • Student - teacher ratio

Patent Law Applicability:

An invention relating either to a product or process that is new involving inventive steps and capable of industrial application can be patented.

  • It is generated within communities
  • It is location and cultural specific
  • It is not systematically documented
  • It is oral and rural in nature

Measures Taken:
Traditional knowledge cultural expressions can sometimes be protected by existing systems, such as copyright and related rights, geographical indications, appellations of origin, trademarks and certification marks.

  • Sources of income contribute financially to the local community.
  • Provide less expensive forms.
  • Support food security.
  • Livelihood and practices of village people.

Invention Of Traditional Knowledge:

Madhavi Sunder, The inventor of traditional knowledge, 70 law and contemporary problems 97 – 124 (spring 2007)

Case Study:

Use Of Turmeric In Wound Healing : A Bio Patent

Case study:
St. Xavier's college (autonomous), Kolkata
Department of microbiology
Bachelors of science
Shreejit saha (607)
Ishan bose (633)
Liana Mukherjee (621)
Sohini chattopadhyay (643)

Patent Law:

Salient Features Of Patent Law

  • Both product and process patent provided
  • Terms of patent - 20 years
  • Examinations on request
  • Fast track mechanism

Traditional Knowledge Insightsias:

A collaboration between the council of scientific and industrial research (CSIR) and the department of Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy ( dept. of AYUSH), ministry of health & family welfare, government of India.

A research of council AYUSH ministry has been implementing a tribal health care research programme THCRP which aims to collecting information on fault medicines / traditional practices prevalent in different parts of the country besides extending health care service to tribal population.

Traditional knowledge can make a significant contribution to sustainable development. it is closely interlinks cultural and biological diversity, forming an essential basis for the conservation and sustainable use of global biodiversity.

This transfers from person to person or we can say from generation to generations.

This is easy to communicate but one of its disadvantage is that it cannot be preferred in every location it is preferred only in rural areas.

Easy as it is oral but is not systematically documented.

There are many merits and demerits but also it is concluded that it is necessary to use in our culture it is required to be with to get connected with our culture with our roots and our heritage as it makes us connected with it.

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