The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library

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According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) project began in India in 2001 and "is a collaboration between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, of India. "[1] The FAQ section on the TKDL website explains how the TKDL is a "database with a tool to understand the codified knowledge existing for the Indian Systems of Medicine including Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Yoga as prior art." [2] The TKDL was created to prevent individuals or corporations from patenting traditional knowledge (sometimes known as TK), since patent examiners often can't locate prior art to reject these patents. The TKDL makes the prior art on Indian traditional knowledge available to patent examiners in an accessible format.



According to the FAQ, the "Indian traditional knowledge exists in local languages such as Sanskrit, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Tamil, etc," and the TKDL translates the information about the traditional knowledge into the native languages of the patent examiners, including the five languages of "English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese." [2]


The listings within the TKDL are laid out in a format similar to the "patent application format, which is easily understandable by patent examiners."[2]The full listing for each TK entity contains a bibliography of traditional Indian documents, and the bibliography contains links to scanned images of these documents in the original language.


The TKDL created a new classification system for the traditional knowledge, known as the "Traditional Knowledge Resource Classification (TKRC)" and "based on the structure of International Patent Classification (IPC)."[2] Each listing in the TKDL includes both TKRC codes and IPC codes.


The full TKDL is only available to certain national patent offices for use by patent examiners, but a "representative" version of the database is available at the TKDL website. This database has 1,200 representative listings. [1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 “About the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library.” WIPO News and Events, Accessed on March 30, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 “FAQ.” Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, Accessed on March 30, 2011.

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