Can we patent Tradition?

The United States government has issued 150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories and 2,315 yoga trademarks. There’s big money in those pretzel twists and contortions — $3 billion a year in America alone.

What do you think about this?

In 1995, the US Patent Office granted a patent on the wound-healing properties of turmeric. Indian scientists protested and fought a two-year-long legal battle to get the patent revoked.

Last year, India won a 10-year-long battle at the European Patent Office against a patent granted on an anti-fungal product, derived from neem, by successfully arguing that the medicinal neem tree is part of traditional Indian knowledge.

In 1998 the US Patent Office granted patent to a local company for new strains of rice similar to basmati, which has been grown for centuries in the Himalayan foothills of north-west India and Pakistan and has become popular internationally. After a prolonged legal battle, the patent was revoked four years ago.

And now this...
in the US, an expatriate Indian yoga teacher has claimed copyright on a sequence of 36 yoga asanas, or postures.

Opinion | A Big Stretch - The New York Times
There’s more at stake than just the money involved in the commercial exploitation of traditional knowledge. There is also the perception that the world trading system is unfair, that the deck is stacked against developing countries. Unless the World Trade Organization and developed countries correct this, the entire project of globalization is at risk. - New York Times.



Opinion | A Big Stretch - The New York Times


What do you think?


  • Kaustubh Katdare
    Kaustubh Katdare
    {spam alert}
    xHx, thanks for the information. I was thinking if Indians could patent the 'Zero' 👍

    -The Big K-
  • desijays
    Some of the ways you can get rich... filthy rich instantly.

    1) The lottery ( chances are pretty much nil )

    2) Steal ( if looking at a set of ||||| bars seems appealing then this is the way ) 😉

    3) Divorce settlement ( Huge emotional payback negates the money involved )

    4) Go to the US of A and sue. keep sueing till its judicial system is prevelant with your case hearings. ( my way 😀 )

    Well, if they're patenting our culture, shouldn't we do the same. i think we should patent the french kiss and the doggie style! 😉
  • th3 ied kid
    th3 ied kid
    {bomb alert}
    well am thinkin of patenting the desi(jays) ways of getting rich! hmmm... any takers ?

  • Elisa
    Reverting back to the question - can we patent tradition? The answer is, obviously, no. I guess it is more or less controlled by the patent laws.
  • crook
    Tradition - well, how do we define tradition? I guess in order to patent tradition, one needs to clearly define what it means and what all it covers.
  • hussainv1
    Patenting of yoga in US is absurd...
  • Ashraf HZ
    Ashraf HZ
    Maybe you can patent the way you market the traditional product? If a exercise company promotes the basic idea of Yoga, but with additions like a live online demonstration which you can follow at home, or using some existing equipment to assist in the yoga. How about that?

    But I guess Elisa has a good point about patent laws. I think that basmati rice variant patent would have caused trade problems, as well as unfair competition, if it wasnt revoked.
  • gohm
    Yep, you can patent just about anything here as well as sue over just about anything here as part of our republic free market system. I think that the system needs to remain loose and open to survive. You'll always have individuals who abuse the system. Is it good to change the system for that reason? (personally I vote no) So people must spend time & money to challenge those they disagree with. If only the less scrupulous folks would stop from the beginning...

    no, a tradition should not be patentable on its own. A marketable idea based on that, yes.

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