June 08, 2007

Come Lets Patent

That the USA has denied reports of trying to patent yoga postures comes as a relief to many Indians around the world. Many ardent yogis who wonder how the US got the right to decide whether it would patent or not a divine exercise which has it roots deeply planted in India, fail to realise that India had to fight a legal battle in the WTO to safeguard her interest when USA patented turmeric and Basmati rice both of which are associated with India since time immemorial.

It is a known fact that America either beats or buys talent and from history we know that they have been more successful in buying out talent. Lakhs of Indian engineers, doctors and other technocrats who are serving in US holding their precious dollars close to their chest stand a testimony to this. USA dominates every nation using its borrowed talent and it becomes important to patent every piece of research to save itself from defection. The issue of evergreening the patents (continue to provide royalty forever) given to life saving drugs is only the tip of the ice berg. USA with its Super 501 and special 501 clauses threatens LDCs(least developed countries) to approve evergreening of such drugs so that these drug companies can continue to extract high profits from these poor nations. India was recently forced to amend her Intellectual property rights Act to fall in line. India had to budge as USA threatened to stop all import of Indian generic drugs which have a good market in the US.

Aren't patents unfair beyond a point? How can obsolete technology be patented beyond 20 years? How can obvious 'inventions' be patented? For instance, the mother of redundant patents, Microsoft has patented the radio button which lets you select one choice among the given alternatives. With the growing competition between the nations, it wouldn't be a surprise if the US ends up patenting our Kamasutra. You'd then be required to fix a camera in your bedroom and perform only those acts (postures) for which you have paid money. If you're found to venture into other 'unpaid' acts during your moments of intimacy, you'd be fined along with the relevant video showing your violation.

India can try her luck too by patenting Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism as they originated from our country. We could then charge people a nominal fee for practicing it. We could also get royalty from Srilanka, South East Asia as they have been 'using' our invention without paying. Those who continue to hold their dollars close to their chest could feel that this is a wonderful idea.