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Monday, August 03, 2015

CSIR-TKDL misleading with its claim that they stopped an European patent -on a medicinal composition containing turmeric, pine bark and green tea for treating hair loss.

Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India issued a press statement with title`India Foils UK Company’s Bid to Patent Use of Turmeric, Pine Bark & Tea for Treating Hair Loss'. The Indian press dutifully carried this news item as yet another instance of crooked white man stealing Indian traditional knowledge. And few in India analysed the European patent claims to check this claim of CSIR-TKDL.
Darren Smyth in his blog IPKat traced the patent in dispute and anaysed the claim(s) in detail. The conclusion:

  • Caim 1 is achieving an electrostatic effect in the interaction of hair building solids with hair and there is no reference to turmeric, pine bark and green tea.
  • About the third party observations, it was stated:The comments developed in this [the third party observations] filing concern mainly the subject-matter of original claims 10, 11 and 12, which relate to the introduction of pharmacologically active ingredients. The third-party observation has been taken into account.
  • From this it can be seen that they played no part in the examination at all.  The examination report was not responded to, and the application has now lapsed.
  • So the statement by the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology is pretty much untrue - there was not in any real sense an attempt to "patent" use of "turmeric, pine bark and green tea for treating hair loss", and nothing that the TKDL did had any influence on the examination so India has not "foiled" the attempt to get a patent anyway.  Any announcement is in any case premature, since the applicant can still file a response and revive the application using "further processing" up to 9 September 2015.

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