78 new colleges teaching Ayurvedic, Unani, Homoeopathy and Siddha Medicine during the academic year 2017-18
It is organising an international conference on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) - Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) linkage in Geneva on June 7 and 8, to re-energise talks on the subject, Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce Sudhanshu Pandey told reporters here.
Traditional knowledge, a kind of intellectual property, is something which is passed on from generation to generation within a community. It often forms part of a people's cultural and spiritual identity. In India it includes areas like Ayurveda, Yoga and naturopathy.
Pandey said this is an important issue and the WTO members should deliberate upon this matter.
"TRIPS-CBD Linkage is important for India and other developing countries because it seeks to address bio-piracy. It has been a long standing demand that patents should not be granted for existing traditional knowledge and associated genetic resources," he added.
The issue assumes significance as India wants an effective legal international regime to stop misappropriation and reckless patenting of traditional knowledge like healing properties of neem and turmeric.
Several multi-national companies in the pharma sector already have patents for manufactured products which use key properties of traditional knowledge. Many more patent applications are awaiting approvals in different countries.
The CBD is a multilateral agreement on sustainable development and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resource.
Preventing theft would help in giving global protection against patenting or commercial exploitation of traditional knowledge base of developing countries like India.
Developing countries, including India, have time and again asked and floated proposals in the WTO for incorporating a new provision in the TRIPS (trade related aspects of intellectual property rights) agreement of the global trade body.
Under the provision, the developing countries have asked for mandatory disclosure of source or origin of the biological resource, evidence of prior informed consent and benefit sharing from patent applicants before granting any patent to a company.
According to a report, domestic trade of Ayush industry in India is about USD 1.2 billion. The world trade in herbal products are at USD 120 billion and is expected to touch around USD 7 trillion by 2050.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)