Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, March 28, 2005

OA to traditional knowledge

T. V. Padma, Digital library to protect indigenous knowledge, Access, March 2005. Excerpt: 'South Asian countries will create a digital library of the region's traditional knowledge and develop laws to prevent such knowledge being misappropriated through commercial patents....The aim is to create a composite digital library comprising individual Traditional Knowledge Digital Libraries (TKDL) from each country in South Asia. Accessible using the internet, the library will contain information on traditional medicine, foodstuffs, architecture and culture. SAARC will fund the infrastructure required, and individual nations will fund the costs of training and work....The planned initiative follows the success of India's own TKDL, which will be used as a model by other South Asian nations. India created its library after fighting a successful but costly legal battle in 1999 to revoke a US patent for the use of turmeric to heal wounds - a property well known in India for generations....In 2003, there were almost 15,000 patents on such medicines in the US, European and UK patent offices' registries. However, according to the institute's Director Virender Kumar Gupta, none of the 131 academic journals used by patent examiners when deciding whether to grant a patent is from developing countries such as Brazil, China or India.'