Indigenous Knowledge Database

Indigenous knowledge (and IP Policy) is seen as extremely important in South Africa. In order to protect this knowledge, a database is essential listing the available IK, and therefore identifying IP.  This database needs protection, as do the entries in the database and the information to which the entries refer.  There has been one workshop on this organised by the HSRC. Julian Kinderlerer was involved in the first workshop, and will be working with the Department of Science & Technology and the Human Sciences Research Council  on these important topics.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) together with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) are in the process of organising a follow up session to the Indigenous Knowledge (IKS) Database Protection Policy workshop held on 16 and 17 March 2010. The follow up session will consist of two parts:
1.        a workshop with IKS Database stakeholders from 16 -17 August 2010. This component aims to allow various IKS stakeholders to  provide input and  considerations for the Draft IKS Database Protection Policy and
2.        the policy drafting session from 17 – 20 August 2010 where the drafting team will sit together to draft the IKS Database Protection Policy.

In relation to this initial attempt to set up a South African Database identifying indigenous knowledge it should also be noted that the Indian Traditional Knowledge Digital Library has been adding many Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha texts. The Digital Library is a joint effort of India’s CSIR and the Government Department of AYUSH (Ayurvedic, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathic). By setting up such a database the Indian Government is attempting to avert  biopiracy or attempts by individuals or institutions in the developed countries to patent traditional knowledge passed down from generation to generation in India.

The US and the European Patents Offices are able to search the digital library so as to assure that there is no prior art on new patent applications.

The webpages of the TKDL is available here.