Role of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) in Preservation and Protection of Indigenous Medicinal Knowledge of India

  • Mohd Shoaib Ansari


Traditional medicinal practices are being used in the life of people since ancient time. These practices are still having a significant role because modern treatment is not available for a large proportion of the world’s population. These medicines are locally available and affordable by the weaker section of the society. These practices belong to the people of a society, but some people try to steal this knowledge from indigenous communities for commercial purpose. There is a gap between modern patent laws and traditional medicine areas, and companies take advantage of this by patenting them. India has a rich treasure of traditional practices, and there are many cases occurred when people tried to get patent of this traditional knowledge. These cases play an important role in the formation of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library. TKDL started to convert Indian transcription into international languages and made them available in the public domain. The knowledge available in the public domain cannot be considered for a patent. Since its establishment, 220 patent applications relating to Indian medicinal systems have been rejected or withdrawn by applicant due to TKDL.


Traditional medicine Indigenous knowledge Biopiracy IPR TKDL 


  1. Ansari MS. Evaluation of role of traditional knowledge digital library and traditional Chinese medicine database in preservation of traditional medicinal knowledge. DESIDOC J Lib Inform Technol. 2016;36(2):73–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Apte T. A simple guide to intellectual property rights, biodiversity and traditional knowledge. Pune, New Delhi: Kalpavriksh-Grain-IIED; 2006.Google Scholar
  3. Bardi M, Guti errez-Oppe E, Politano R. Traditional knowledge products in Latin America and their misappropriation. J Intellect Prop Law Prac. 2011;6:34–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brush S. Whose knowledge; whose genes; whose rights? In: Brush S, Stabinsky D, editors. Indigenous people and intellectual property rights. Washington, DC: Island Press; 2007. p. 1–24.Google Scholar
  5. Carlos M. Protection and promotion of traditional medicine-implications for public health in developing countries. 2002. Accessed 21 Aug 2016.
  6. Conforto D. Traditional and modern-day biopiracy: redefining the biopiracy debate. J Environ Law Litig. 2004;19:357–96.Google Scholar
  7. Dubey NK, Kumar R, Tripathi P. Global promotion of herbal medicine: India’s opportunity. Curr Sci. 2004:37–41.Google Scholar
  8. ETC Group. Biopiracy. Montoring power, Tracking technology, Strenghening diversity. 2017. Accessed 12 Jan 2017.
  9. Finetti C. Traditional knowledge and the patent system: two worlds apart? World Pat Inform. 2011;33:58–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goyal AK, Arora S. India’s fourth National Report to the convention on biological diversity. New Delhi: Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India; 2009.Google Scholar
  11. Gupta VK. Traditional knowledge digital library. Sub-regional experts meeting in Asia on intangible cultural heritage. Bangkok. 2005.Google Scholar
  12. Hasan I. Alternative medicine. 2010. Accessed 19 Sept 2017.
  13. Hirwade MA. Protecting traditional knowledge digitally: a case study of TKDL. In: National Workshop on Digitization Initiatives & Applications in Indian Context, DNC, Nagpur. 2010. Accessed 20 Aug 2016.
  14. Martin VA. Biopiracy: the need for a protective solution? 2010. Accessed 20 Aug 2016.
  15. Menon R. Traditional knowledge receives a boost from the government. India together. 2009. Accessed 25 Jul 2015.
  16. Mgbeoji S. Global Biopiracy: patents, plants and indigenous knowledge. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press; 2006.Google Scholar
  17. Mooney P. Why we call it biopiracy. In: Svarstad H, Dhillion S, editors. Responding to bio-prospecting: from biodiversity in the south to medicines in the north. Oslo: Spartacus Forlag; 2000. p. 37–44.Google Scholar
  18. National Knowledge Commission. Traditional knowledge. 2005. Accessed 25 Aug 2016.
  19. Twarog S, Kapoor P. Protecting and promoting traditional knowledge: systems, national experiences and international dimensions. In: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. New York and Geneva: United Nations; 2004.. Accessed 21 Aug 2016.Google Scholar
  20. Vadi V. Intangible heritage: traditional medicine and knowledge governance. J Intellect Prop Law Pract. 2007;2:682–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Vaidya AD, Devasagayam TP. Current status of herbal drugs in India: an overview. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2007;41:1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. WHO Traditional medicine. Secretariat. World Health Organization Fifty-Sixth World Health Assembly A56/18. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2003.. Accessed 6 May 2016Google Scholar
  23. World Health Organization. Traditional medicine – growing needs and potential. 2002. Accessed 13 Jun 2017.
  24. Zhang X. Traditional medicine: its importance and protection. Protecting and promoting traditional knowledge: systems, national experiences and international dimensions. New York: United Nations; 2004.. Accessed 8 Jul 2017Google Scholar

Further Readings

  1. Traditional Knowledge Resource Classification.
  2. TKDL-Traditional Knowledge Digital Library.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohd Shoaib Ansari
    • 1
  1. 1.Government Kaktiya Post-Graduate CollegeJagdalpurIndia

Personalised recommendations