Capitalising the Benefits of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) in Favour of Indigenous Communities
Abha Nadkarni & Shardha Rajam*
Volume 9 Issue 1-2 (2016)
The purpose of preserving Traditional Knowledge of indigenous communities is to allow its usage, but not monopolising it through patents. In light of this purpose, Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) was recently developed by India with the view of protecting knowledge of indigenous communities of India and preventing others from unlawfully enriching from its usage. TKDL digitally codifies all possible known indigenous community knowledge of India that cannot be patented. To prevent instances of biopiracy, TKDL enters into agreements with various Patent Offices, so as to intervene in patent applications involving Indian TK. Unfortunately, in the current scenario the functioning of TKDL is devoid of commercial benefits. It is neither designed to commercially benefit the indigenous communities, nor to allow proper use of the knowledge through monetary payment. In this paper, TKDL will be analysed based on its functioning in light of commercial aspects. Then it shall critique the flaws that emanate from features like ‘Free Access Agreements’, not financially benefiting indigenous communities, and treating TKDL as a part of the freely available the ‘Public Domain’. And finally this paper shall also put forth viable solutions in the form of access and benefit sharing agreement, paying public domain and an approach similar to Patent left, which can commercially protect TK under TKDL.