Free access to traditional knowledge library

New Delhi, July 13 | Updated: Jul 14 2006, 05:30am hrs
The department of AYUSH is working on letting other countries in on Indias knowledge on alternative systems of medicine following the Cabinet decision last month to allow access by international patent offices to Indias traditional knowledge digital library (TKDL).

According to an official, the department, which comes under the ministry of health and family welfare, is in the final round of talks with patent offices of the European Union (EU) and the UK to sign mutual non-disclosure agreements.

The non-disclosure agreement will allow access to the knowledge library database on a secured portal. Patent offices of other countries can access it for patent search. They, however, will not be allowed to make any third party disclosure other than what is required for patent search and examination.

At present, negotiations were on regarding whether to use an international search engine for the access or not. Agreements with the EU and the UK would be signed soon, he said.

The official said patent offices of the US and Japan had also showed interest in accessing the library. Talks were on with these countries as well, he added.

Access by international patent offices to TKDL would mean an end to disputes relating to patents by foreign companies on medicines and remedies, which had been a part of Indian traditional knowledge for ages. A case in point would be the controversies surrounding patent claims on neem and turmeric by the US.