We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

The Indian government has launched a database of traditional knowledge in an attempt to prevent foreign companies from patenting naturally occurring medicines and foods that have been used in Indian communities for years.

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library — initially available on DVD — will record details of up to 4,500 medicinal plants in an easily searchable database to allow those applying for patents to check whether their 'invention' is actually unpatentable 'prior art'.

The move is an attempt to stem the tide of foreign patent applications on traditional Indian products such as basmati rice, turmeric and neem.

A group from the Indian health ministry's Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy is compiling the library, which is currently about one-third complete. It will be available on the Internet later this year.

© SciDev.Net 2002