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Yoga patents being granted by U.S Patents and Trademarks office: Does it mean anything ?

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By now most of you must have read or heard about the Yoga Patenting issue. Media has widely reported the strong views expressed by various Indian organizations against the granting of copyrights and patents to yoga postures by the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO).

I actually had a laugh when I read those reports last week. It is ridiculous for someone to go and file the patents on Yoga Postures, let alone granting them. If you ask any one who knows Yoga across the globe about who invented it, there is going to be unanimous answer. Yoga was taught and practised by Indian Rishis (sages) thousands of years ago. Patanjali Yoga Shastra was written nearly 5000 years ago in India. Most of the yogas performed today in India and West are mentioned in Patanjali Yoga Shastra. Infact, Yoga in its current form is not even 25% of what it was during that time.

Yoga in India and Patenting by USPTO Patents Trademark office

However, all the information currently available is purely based on Newspaper reports. Indian government is in touch with the US Patent Trademarks office (USPTO) to get authenticity and clarification on this Yoga Patent issue. As per the newspaper reports, USPTO has already issued150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories, and 2,315 yoga trademarks.

These patents were mostly filed by people on Indian origin living in United States. The postures or kriyas, as mentioned in ancient texts, have been known for thousands of years and Indian government can challenge the granting of copyrights on a premise that the product or the postures in this case are already known.

There was a similar patents case sometime back for Ayurvedic medicine based on Turmeric and Neem which India won. To overcome this problem India has overtaken a big project on digitizing the formulations on traditional and alternative forms of Ayurveda.

I guess we need to do something on similar lines for Yoga related postures and kriyas.

  1. Sanjiv Sharan says

    The article is very informative. I would like to share some interesting information on Diwali. I blogged on The Bright and The Beautiful – Diwali Patents. An abstract “invention is about the customized light module which includes housing, a light source, a decorative cap and a battery. The housing which includes the light source, decorative cap and a battery is kept inside an aperture (opening which let light in) of footwear, and the decorative cap is configured to illuminate when the light source illuminates.”
    To read more please visit
    http://www.sinapseblog.com/2010/11/bright-and-beautiful-diwali-patents.html
    Thanks for sharing this post.

  2. bsian says

    this is the most ridiculous thing to happen. Only thing i am afraid is some day someone will patent sexual postures and hey we have a man asking for fees to screw ones own wife because a posture has been patented. Hai that is the way to srcew the world and make money.

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