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Traditional Knowledge Digital Library: Boon or Bane? – Part 1

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) project was initiated in the year 2001 as a sequel to the battles fought by India against the patents granted by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for Turmeric and Basmati Rice and the Neem patent granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) in the 1990’s so that there would exist proper documentation of its rich Traditional Knowledge.

Initiative to digitally record our existing traditional knowledge happened around 1999, when, the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy-(AYUSH), the erstwhile Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homoeopathy (ISM&H) constituted an inter-disciplinary Task Force, for creating an approach paper on establishing the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). An inter-disciplinary team of Traditional Medicine (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Yoga) Experts, Patent Examiners, IT Experts, Scientists and Technical Officers are involved in creation of TKDL for Indian Systems of Medicine.

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Monkey takes photos on camera

Monkey Selfie does not qualify for Copyright Protection: US Copyright Office

Putting an end to the worldwide debate on who owns copyrights over works created and/or authored by animals, the Third Edition of the Compendium of the US Copyright Office Practices specifically stated that it will not register works produced by nature, animals or plants. The infamous Monkey Selfie has now effectively entered the Public Domain.

Chapter 300, section 306 of the Third Edition Compendium provides human authorship as an essential element for granting copyright protection. Section 306 specifically states the following:

“The US Copyright Office will register an original work of authorship, provided that the work was created by a human being. The copyright law only protects “the fruits of intellectual labor” that are founded in the creative powers of the mind. Because copyright law is limited to original intellectual conceptions of author, the Office will refuse to register a claim if it determines that a human being did not create the work.

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Sound Sign Posts for the Blind – Blind Patents 2

Last week we discussed the talking walking stick innovation. Today, I am here with another patent, brought to my attention by the reliable, Naveen. Banking on certain patents to navigate your way through the world, is not an uncommon feature in knowledge driven industries and I embark on a mission to learn a few tricks. This patent, filed in 2008, by Universidade Do Porto, Portugal, seems to be an outcome of Academic Research.

The Guidance, navigation and information system especially adapted for blind or partially sighted people (US 20110172907 A1) patent aims to provide sound sign posts for the blind. The Abstract reads as follows:

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What makes the World’s first Turbo Diesel Motorcycle vibration free?

Owing to the ever increasing gas prices, fuel efficiency offered by vehicles has become a strong deciding factor among buyers. Diesel bikes are a great benefit for people obsessed with fuel efficiency but unfortunately diesel bikes are currently not offered by any OEMs for the masses. Royal Enfield’s Taurus was the only diesel motorcycle that was in mass production until some time ago. The vibration produced by diesel engines in a motorcycle, jolts the rider and makes travel tiresome, and eventually the user may even start feeling the strain through pain in his/her elbow joints. Hence, vibration is a concern among diesel engine manufacturers.

Neander Motors from Germany launched the world’s first Turbocharged Diesel Engine Motorcycle some time ago. This engine works on the principle in which pistons act on two opposing crankshafts via two connecting rods, resulting in almost vibration-free running. The patents/patent applications behind the engine give us an insight into the technology behind their vibration-free diesel engine.

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Revised Draft Guidelines for Examination of Patent Applications in the Pharma Industry

The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) published the revised draft guidelines for the examination of patent applications in the field of Pharmaceuticals on August 12, 2014. The main intention of said guidelines was to bring in a uniform practice for the examination of patent applications relating to the Pharmaceutical field.

Earlier in the month of February, the CGPDTM had published the draft guidelines with regard to this and had requested for comments and suggestions. The Indian Patent Office had also published the comments received which contained the views of various international organizations and domestic companies with regard to the draft guidelines on June 12, 2014. The revised draft guidelines published last Tuesday were based on these comments and suggestions received.

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A heavy price for a cool name: English Citizen refused Passport Renewal due to Infringing Name

Amid all the media frenzy created by the monkey and his/her selfie in the field of copyrights, people seem to have overlooked an interesting incident that happened just last week, connected to the area of trademarks and also copyrights. It might not be as ‘cool’ as the monkey’s selfie, but it is still worth a read.

An English citizen had to pay the price for being an ardent fan of the Star Wars Saga. Laura Matthews, 29, drawing inspiration from the popular character Luke Skywalker, the protagonist of the original Star Wars Trilogy, changed her name in 2008 by adding ‘Skywalker’, which made her Laura Elizabeth Skywalker Matthews. Though the name change was “for a bit of laugh”, as claimed by Ms. Matthews, the humour was not shared by the Home Office which refused to renew her passport with the amended signature “L. Skywalker” stating that it “will not recognize a change to a name which is subject to copyright or trademark”. A spokesman for the Home Office further said that, “We have a duty to ensure the reputation of the UK passport is not called into question or disrepute”.

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P&G’s Counterfeit detection kit is perfect for the Sherlock Holmes in you

Procter & Gamble Co. has been granted a patent on a portable test kit to detect counterfeit consumer products that could include everything from shampoo to razor blades and batteries.

What is so special about the Patent?

P&G’s Counterfeit Detection Kit (US patent no.: 8,703,068)  was filed on March 4, 2009 and talks about a test  kit that includes a plurality of test protocols to determine whether a product is real or counterfeit.

Does counterfeit exist in FMCG as well?

Yes! Though the biggest market for counterfeit products is in the electronics area, it is estimated that approximately 2 to 3 % of all Fast Moving Consumer Goods are also counterfeit. To various large companies, this can represent millions to billions of dollars of lost sales every year.

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Battle of Instant Photography

August 19 is celebrated as World Photography Day! Photography, in layman’s language, is an art of producing images using a camera. The history of recording images dates back to the late BC, though this cannot be substantiated. Later, in 1839, Louis Daguerre, a French artist and photographer, introduced Daguerreotype, the first publicly announced photographic process. In 1840, the first American patent (US 1582) was issued in photography to Mr. Alexander Wolcott, for his camera that worked on the Daguerreotype principle. Now, telling you about all patents related to photography would be tedious. So, let me tell you the story of an interesting patent battle that took place between two pioneers in photography in hopes of gaining dominance in the field of instant photography.

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Latest from the IP world

New developments in Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. famous litigation

Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies, outside the United States. Apple and Samsung had filed over 40 patent lawsuits against each other. With this decision the lawsuits filed in countries including Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Australia and the Netherlands will end. Apple and Samsung nevertheless will continue their legal battle in U.S. courts. However, this agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in US courts.

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Talking Walking Stick – Blind Patents I

Every blind person aspires to live a life of independence, a life of freedom and free will, a life free from intrusion, physical and psychological. Some patented inventions have attempted to enhance this very independence, and I will, in my upcoming posts, endeavor to take an unbiased look at some of them.

In 1991, Hsieh Chi-Sheng filed a patent for an electronic talking stick for the blind. Before we get into details, one must understand the role of a stick, or cane, in a blind man’s life. It is, simply put, the most important tool for mobility. In other words, it is one irreplaceable tool, which helps a person get around. Without it, most blind people are literally disabled. It sees many things one cannot.

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