Martin Fredriksson is associate professor at the unit for Culture and Society Linköping University and a member of the PASSIM project team. In this recent article Martin analyses India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) as a potential intervention in the administration of patent law.
Martin’s article concludes that the major database on the one hand bridges the gap between the main branches of Indian traditional medicine and the formal knowledge system of International Patent Classifications. Furthermore, it has also inspired revisions of the International Patent Classification system, which makes it better adapted to incorporate traditional medical knowledge. On the other hand, critical research on traditional knowledge documentation argues that traditional knowledge databases, like the TKDL, can decontextualize the knowledge they catalogue and dispossess its original owners. The TKDL, however, also fits into a national, Indian agenda of documenting and modernizing traditional medicine that predates the formation of the TKDL by several decades and challenges the dichotomy between traditional and scientific knowledge systems that originally motivated the formation of the TKDL.