India acts to unravel yoga patents

5,000 years of prior art

The Indian government has set up a task force to create a database of yoga techniques in order to stop others from patenting the poses.

The US Patent Office has granted 150 yoga-related copyrights and 2,315 yoga trademarks.

The Indian government is getting old Sanskrit and Tamil texts translated and is also cataloguing ayurvedic medicines. The information will be made available in five languages so patent offices around the world can access it, according to the International Herald Tribune.

Yoga has been practised for thousands of years in India but the government is increasingly concerned that people are trying to turn a buck from part of their cultural inheritance.

US-based yoga instructor Bikram Choudhury insists that "his" sequence of 26 poses can only be taught by graduates of his training school who have paid him a fee.

Two years ago the Indian government worked to end the manufacture of generic versions of patented drugs under threat of action by the World Trade Organisation if they did not comply.

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