India successfully protected its traditional knowledge by stalling a leading UK-based laboratory’s move to patent a medicinal composition containing turmeric, pine bark and green tea for treating hair loss.
The UK-based company – Pangaea Laboratories Limited – had filed the patent application in February, 2011. The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) could manage to prove the European Patent Office (EPO) that turmeric, pine bark and green tea have been used since time immemorial as an effective treatment for hair loss in the indigenous systems like Ayurveda and Unani. Once the patent application was published in the EPO website the CSIR-TKDL unit had objected and filed an evidence on January 13, 2014. Based on India’s evidence, the patent application was finally “deemed to be withdrawn” by the applicant on June 29 this year.