India foils Chinese bid to patent 'pudina'

Discussion in 'Members Corner' started by Oracle, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    NEW DELHI: India has foiled a major Chinese bio-piracy bid to patent the use of medicinal plants 'pudina' (mint) and 'kalamegha' (andrographis) for the treatment of H5N1 avian influenza or bird flu.

    The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), with the help of India's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), dug out formulations from ancient Ayurveda and Unani texts, like 'Cakradattah', 'Bhaisajya Ratnavali', 'Kitaab-al-Haawi-fil-Tibb' and 'Qaraabaadeen Azam wa Akmal', dating back to the 9th century, to show that both 'pudina' and 'kalamegha' have been widely used in India since ages for influenza and epidemic fevers.

    After receiving exhaustive evidence from CSIR that confirmed India's stand, the European Patent Office (EPO) on June 10 cancelled the decision to grant patent to Livzon, a major Chinese pharmaceutical company, on the medicinal properties of pudina and kalamegha for treating bird flu.

    It all began when Livzon, on January 19, 2007 filed a patent application at EPO claiming usefulness of pudina and kalamegha for the treatment of bird flu to be novel. Impressed with the data, EPO decided to grant patent to Livzon on February 25, 2010.

    However, on April 27, director of TKDL Dr V K Gupta shot off a letter to the EPO informing the examiners that the medicinal properties of pudina and kalamegha have been long known in Indian traditional medicine.

    The letter said, "The patent application number EP1849473, titled Chinese traditional medicine composition for treatment of avian influenza, method for preparation, and application thereof, may kindly be referred to wherein the usefulness of andrographis (kalamegha) and mint (pudina) for treatment of fever, detoxification and for the treatment of avian influenza, has been claimed to be novel."

    The letter added, "In the TKDL, there are several references where andrographis and mint are used for the treatment of influenza and epidemic fever. Hence, there does not seem to be any novelty or inventive step involved in the claims made in the above referred patent application."

    Following the letter, the EPO set up a three-member panel to study the evidence. On June 10, the panel decided to cancel the Chinese patent claim.

    TKDL is a collaborative project between CSIR and Union health ministry's department of Ayush.

    In 2000, a TKDL expert group estimated that about 2,000 wrong patents concerning Indian systems of medicine were being granted every year at the international level, mainly due to the fact that India's traditional medicine knowledge existed in languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Tamil etc. These were neither accessible nor understood by the patent examiners at the international patent offices.

    TKDL, therefore, overcame these language and format barriers by scientifically converting and making available information contents in 34 million A4 size pages of the ancient texts into five international languages -- English, Japanese, French, German and Spanish.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...-bid-to-patent-pudina/articleshow/6084091.cms
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    These chinese have gone far enough with reverse engineering and now trying to patent Pudina this is dispicable,this just goes to show where Chinese innovation really comes from.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
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  4. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    May be Chinese were not aware of it. There might be lot of common things between Indian and Chinese traditional medicine and every possibility of crossing paths will arise now and then.
     
  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    It is possible but many Indians including myself drinking this daily in my tea and there must be hundreds of millions worldwide doing the same??
     
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  6. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Its good that we have foiled their attempt. Else we would have been importing Cheap pudina Chatni from China.
     
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  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Chinese have learned their lessons from the British who use to sell all the clothing from Indian cotton back to India. This is an attempt to steal and create a market where a market already has existed for thousands of years.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
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  8. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    This is a welcoming news, Pudina, Neem, Tusli etc herbs are household names in India and are used as for their medicinal value not Just India, but throughout South, Southeast and Eastern Asia (If not throughout the world), how can anyone patent the medicinal values of household herbs and expect every Indian (or Asian) would pay royalty to Chinese, maaaan these sneak attacks are hilarious yet interesting....Ayurveda is based on knowledge of herbs and salts; I personally rely on Ayurveda than Allopathy. :)
     
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  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://www.ayurvednews.com/archives/tag/patent

    Protecting India’s Traditional Knowledge from Patent Piracy


    The government of India has granted the European Patent Office (EPO) access to its Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). Loaded with ancient medical knowledge, the online database contains translations of manuscripts and textbooks in five languages, including English.

    Traditional Indian medicines, comprising some 200,000 formulations, should from now on be safe from pirate-patenting in the west. Close to 2000 wrong patents of medicines prescribed under the Ayurvedic, Unani and Sidha systems are still being granted annually at the global level, causing financial loss to India. The most blatant examples are the grant of a patent on the wound healing properties of turmeric in 1995 by the US Patent and Trademark Office, and on the anti-fungal properties of neem granted by the EPO.

    Development of the TKDL started in 1999 as a joint project between five Indian government organisations, including the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR). In total the project costs $2 million. Now, after over eight years of work by a team of over 200 scientists TKDL has been made available to the patent examiners from the EPO and its 34 member nations.

    So far, foreign companies have got away with wrong patents because India’s traditional medicinal knowledge existed only in Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu and Tamil – languages which international patent examiners did not understand. But TKDL has scientifically converted the information into open domain textbooks in five international languages – English, Japanese, French, German, and Spanish.

    All this information has been made available in 30 million pages to EPO. So far 81,000 formulations in Ayurveda, 104,000 in Unani, and 12, 000 in Sidha yoga have been digitalised under TKDL. However, TKDL’s information will be restricted only for patent search and examination purposes. EPO will not be able to disclose the information to a third party.

    EPO examiners have been able to access the TKDL since 2 February 2009. Various other countries have also granted the EPO access to traditional knowledge databases. In 2008, the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO) opened its 32 000-entry database on traditional Chinese medicine to the EPO.

    “Now patent examiners at EPO will be in a position to establish prior art in case they receive patent applications based on Indian systems of medicine. They can thus refuse the grant of new patent,” said V K Gupta, IT head, CSIR, who played a key role in creating the TKDL.

    “For example, if someone wants to patent the sexual healing properties of white mulberry, examiners would know that such qualities already exist in Indian traditional formulations. If TKDL existed earlier, then international disputes regarding patenting of neem, turmeric and basmati would not have occurred,” Gupta added.

    “The cooperation between India and the EPO brings advantages to both parties. It helps protect India’s traditional knowledge from misappropriation and gives the EPO additional relevant information for granting properly defined patents”, said Paul Schwander, Director of Information Acquisition at the EPO.

    Till this development, all India could do was oppose a wrong patent in case it had the relevant information. It takes about five to seven years to oppose a granted patent at the international level and the process costs about Rs3 crore per case. Thus, the country has lost over 15,000 patents of medicinal plants to the West.

    Patents have been granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) on the use of over 285 traditional Indian medicinal plants such as papaya, Indian long pepper, kali tulsi, pudina, ginger, aloe, isabgol, aaonla, jira, soybean, tomato, almond, walnut and methi. Ayush secretary S Jalaja said, “People will now think twice before even applying for such dubious patents.”

    Unjustified patent claims based on traditional knowledge, or “biopiracy”, have recently made headlines. In 2008, the Indian government won a ten-year legal battle appeal against a patent application that had been granted for an anti-fungal product derived from the native Neem tree.

    With the TKDL, patent examiners can now compare patent applications to existing traditional knowledge documented in this new source. Examiners can limit the scope of a patent or reject it altogether before it is granted. This can prevent lengthy,and costly opposition procedures
     
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