India Patenting Yoga Moves to Battle "Patent Pirates"

If you're one of the millions of people practicing yoga for mental and physical health, you may soon run into legal trouble: a lot of the traditional poses are being patented and trademarked by Western yoga teachers.

So, India is fighting back: it has set up a team of yoga gurus and scientists to identify and patent all ancient yoga positions or asanas to stop "patent pirates."

... as the number of Western yoga teachers has grown, there has been a steady increase in patent applications claiming each pose in their class is not part of the ancient discipline of mind and body, but their own unique invention. In the United States alone, there have been more than 130 yoga-related patents, 150 copyrights and 2,300 trademarks. Now India's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library is being made available to patents offices throughout the world so they can establish whether the claim is a genuine innovation or "prior art" from Indian systems of medicine.

[...] The attempt by US teachers to patent traditional poses has caused disbelief and anger in India, where it has been practiced for around 6,000 years.

"Copyrights over yoga postures and trademarks on yoga tools have become rampant in the West. Till now, we have traced 130 yoga-related patents in the US. We hope to finish putting on record at least 1500 yoga postures by the end of 2009," said Dr V.P Gupta, of the CSIR, who created the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library.


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torrance:- You're right, the entire (particularly US) patent system is falling into disrepute thanks to these frivolous patents. The leading example is Amazon's One Click Shopping. How on earth anyone could have suggested that it passed the test of being "Non obvious" baffles me.
That seems to be the commonest failing - the scrutineers are not sufficiently bright to realise that some things are just too obvious to patent.
And don't get me started on trademarks...
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The US patent and trademark offices will rubberstamp approval for almost anything that passes their way. Even commonly used words are being trademarked, eg "monster" and vague general techniques are patented. THis irresponsibility on the part of the Gov. is causing many problems. Challenging them post facto is expensive and time consuming.
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