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Can Yogas be Patented?

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Is it possible to patent Yogas?
Yogas were taught by famous Rishis for the welfare of the human. Is it possible to claim it is discovered by a new Guru, and that guru alone can teach?

The comments on this will help our society as some Math head claim that these Yogas were invented by them and they alone market this Yoga.
I have not heard of it.

It is quite astonishing to claim copyright of something religious and spiritual.

Patanjali wrote the yoga sutra. Vyasa codified the Vedas. Adi Sankara wrote
commentaries on BS,BG, and upanishads. All these great men have not
claimed any copyright. They wanted that everyone must benefit and did
not make it a commercial venture. Many old books on vedanta and yoga
are available without any covenant of copyright.

If anyone claims, he is mean.
But see here is a news
Yoga all in a twist | Hare Krishna

[h=1]Yoga all in a twist[/h]Yoga all in a twist By Neeta Lal
NEW DELHI – A spate of unsavory controversies in the United States is cracking up yoga’s wholesome image, with accusations of financial fraud, sexual misconduct and copyright issues involving asanas (positions) plaguing the community.
As a result, India, the land where the physical, mental and spiritual discipline of yoga began in ancient times, is truly getting itself into a twist.
The intensifying debates around yoga seem all the more pertinent considering the staggering reach of the discipline and the exponentially growing business around it.
An estimated 16 million Americans practice yoga, which generates, according to the Yoga Journal, US$5.7 billion annually in class fees, books and video sales, sale of mats and other
accessories. There are about 100,000 yoga instructors in the US, while an unofficial estimate puts the number of teachers in India at 175,000.
Often, it is the issue of “ownership” or copyright/trademark over a particular system of yoga that is the bone of contention. This is because apart from a spectrum of yogas – Hatha yoga, Tantra yoga, Ashtanga yoga or Hot yoga, to name a few – the practice has mutated into countless sub-strands that are being embraced by millions across the world.
This has resulted in many yoga studios and instructors claiming copyright to their “style”. By 2008, the US Patent and Trademark Office had issued 150 yoga-related copyrights and 2,315 yoga trademarks.
The most recent case involves Bikram Chowdhary, founder of the “hot yoga” school known as Bikram Yoga, who has copyrighted a sequence of poses in the US and licensed these to teachers.
Trouble began when the Bikram Yoga Studio in New York – which offers hugely popular $25 sessions for workouts in 105-degree heat – received competition from a nearby studio (Yoga to the People) that started tagging its “traditional Hot yoga” package in 103-degree heat at just $8. This resulted in a “yoga war”, or a legal battle between two yoga studios.
Saving yoga from copyright-mongers - Lifestyle - DNA

[h=1]Saving yoga from copyright-mongers[/h]
Somebody in South Korea has filed a patent for ‘baby yoga.’ In this mind-numbingly brilliant innovation, the baby’s legs will be moved in the direction of his ribs. Then the baby will be made to imitate the motion of pedalling a bicycle. It includes gathering the baby’s legs and rotated them as if they were drawing a circle. At first, small circles; then bigger and bigger circles. And what’s more, this patent will most likely be granted.
Of course, if you ask your grandmother, or for that matter, anybody’s grandmother, she will tell you this baby leg rotation routine is hardly ‘novel’ — which quality happens to be an essential criteria for the granting of any patent. But then, when it comes to yoga-related patents, it would appear that the world has sacrificed common sense to expediency.South Korea is, of course, a very minor offender compared with the US. A recent study conducted by Brain League IP Services, Bangalore, found that globally, there were 3,245 yoga-related patent applications granted and filed. Of these, 1,711 came from the US Patent & Copyright offices alone.Bend it like Bikram
Speaking of yoga patents in the US, leading the pack there, strangely enough, is a Bengali man called Bikram Choudhury. He is Kolkata-born, and not surprisingly, has a highly advanced sense of modesty. He told the US magazine Business 2.0, “I’m a Superman” and “I have b***s like atom bombs, two of them, 100 megatons each. Nobody f***s with me.” The all-new branded form of yoga he has invented is called (no prizes for guessing) Bikram
Hot Yoga.
The ‘Hot’ in the title refers not to the physical attributes of the copyright owner but to the temperature at which the yoga is to be performed: above 40 degrees Celsius. Also referred to as McYoga or McBikram, it consists of a specific sequence of 26 asanas, performed with instructions, and two breathing exercises. You do them for 90 minutes in a heated room whose humidity is 50 per cent. You feel hot and sweat when you do it, hence the name ‘Hot Yoga’. What’s cool is Choudhury owns the copyright on this yoga. In all, he holds copyrights on eight books and a video on his brand of yoga. He has, more significantly, filed successful lawsuits against other studios that were teaching some form of yoga that allegedly resembled his own Hot Yoga, and shut them down.When yoga teachers in India heard of Choudhury, they were furious at what they considered as a shameless filching of India’s cultural heritage. But nobody paid them any attention. But today, they have a saviour: the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The CSIR believes it has found a way to liberate yoga from the clutches of rampaging, obsessive compulsive patent filers. The CSIR’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) branch has compiled a database of 900 asanas. Not only that, it has videotaped many of them. And translated the various ancient Indian texts that list these asanas into five international languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. Not Korean though.Dr VK Gupta, head of CSIR’s TKDL, says, “The texts which prove that the yoga asanas already existed in India were in Sanskrit and other regional languages. Now that they have been translated, global patent offices can access these works, and disqualify attempts to patent yoga.” Gupta’s team of 35 has been working since 2008 on this project. Texts they have translated include the Bhagwad Gita and Patanjali’s classic works on yoga.Who owns it?
At the centre of the debate is the argument that yoga is for everyone and that no individual can be stopped from practicing it. “All this patenting is stopping the spread of yoga. With patents, commercial enterprises are being empowered to ask people not to perform yoga,” Dr Gupta says.
In fact, in June 2002, Choudhury filed a lawsuit against one of his former students who, among other alleged violations, deviated from the regimen of Hot Yoga by not heating the room to the prescribed temperature and playing music during classes. The suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, and Choudhury proclaimed victory.Choudhury later issued cease and desist letters to yoga studios around the world, threatening them with litigation if they continued to “violate his copyright” by offering disguised copies of Bikram Yoga and calling it “their own”. In response, yoga instructors and practitioners created a non-profit organisation called Open Source Yoga Unity (OSYU) to fight Choudhury’s litigious threats.The OSYU was headed by a yoga teacher who had learned the 26-pose McBikram sequence from her parents, without getting formal certification. According to OSYU, as mentioned in the lawsuit, “no form, style or routine of Yoga is proprietary and . . . Yoga cannot be owned, transferred, franchised, trademarked or copyrighted.” The two parties, however, reached an out of court settlement in 2005. And Choudhury continues to make money from his copyrights.Some, however, believe that CSIR’s noble efforts may not be able to stop patents on yoga. Dr Kalyan C Kankanala, a visiting
professor at Bangalore’s National Law School, says, “It is good that CSIR has created a database of these asanas. But if you look at the patents and copyrights granted on yoga, you’ll find that none has been granted on the asana itself. They’ve only been given to those that are performed in certain conditions and environment.
Therefore, no matter what CSIR does, if in the future claims are made over unique sequences or conditions, patents and copyrights will certainly be awarded.”
According to Vishal Jain, a senior Intellectual Property (IP) analyst, “A person seeking a patent can use traditional knowledge. But she has to use it in a novel way and adds her own inputs to it. Only then will patents and copyrights be granted.” Jain and Kankanala point to how Choudhury has taken the traditional asanas and put them in a unique sequence, added his own instructions and specified the use of a sauna-like temperature. That’s why he got a copyright, they explain.
A study conducted a few years ago by TKDL found there to be 150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories, and 2,315 yoga-related trademarks in the US. But experts point out that none of these are on the asanas themselves. Jain says, “Most of the copyrights are on books and videos, and many patents include accessories like mats and clo-thes. And trademarks have been issued only to protect the name of companies like Hot Yoga, etc.”
Stretching it
Following its popularity abroad, Bikram Hot Yoga opened its first Indian outlet in Mumbai last year. One of its instructors, who refused to be named, is puzzled that people in India are crying foul and arguing against Choudhury’s copyrights. “Yoga and its asanas, like musical notes, have always existed. But when you put these notes in a certain sequence, you make a unique music. Bikram Hot Yoga is that unique music,” he says. Bhavin Thakkar is an instructor at Artistic Yoga, a yoga studio which possesses a trademark in its name, and combines ancient yogic techniques with modern cardiovascular-training and partner-stretches.
Thakkar claims that trademarks like theirs are necessary. “There are many unqualified people who teach what they call Artistic Yoga. Trademarks, then, become very important because apart from loss of business for us, unsuspecting people are being cheated and can hurt themselves.”However, Dr Gupta refuses to be drawn into these arguments. He is clear about one thing: “One should always remember: yoga is for everyone.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued 150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories, and 2,315 yoga trademarks. There's big money in those pretzel twists and contortions - $3 billion a year in America alone. It's a mystery to most Indians that anybody can make that much money from the teaching of a knowledge that is not supposed to be bought or sold like sausages.

The Indian government is not laughing. It has set up a task force that is cataloging traditional knowledge, including ayurvedic remedies and hundreds of yoga poses, to protect them from being pirated and copyrighted by foreign hucksters. The data will be translated from ancient Sanskrit and Tamil texts, stored digitally, and available in five international languages, so that patent offices in other countries can see that yoga didn't originate in a San Francisco commune.


There's more at stake than just the money. There is also the perception that the world trading system is unfair, that the deck is stacked against developing countries. If the copying of Western drugs is illegal, so should be the patenting of yoga. It is also intellectual piracy, stood on its head.

Suketu Mehta is the author of "Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found."
India to patent yoga asanas

Madan Jaira , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 07, 2010

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has prepared patent formats of nearly 900 yoga asanas (postures), to prevent European and American companies involved in fitness-related activities from claiming them as their own. These asanas will all be included in the digitalised Traditional Knowledge Library (TKDL), set up by the council to collect and record traditional treatment therapy knowledge. Medicines and yoga asanas registered with it enjoy the status of being patented.
"Video recordings of the asanas are also being made and recorded to prevent them from being stolen," said TKDL director Dr VK Gupta.

The CSIR began the project in 2006.

These 900 asanas have been collected from Patanjali's classic work on yoga, as well as other ancient classics like the Bhagwat Gita.

Gupta said a number of countries had already laid claim to around 250 of these postures. Some foreign companies have even patented some of them.

Foreign companies have been selling some of the yoga postures as therapies to relieve stress or backaches.

"How can someone else patent these asanas which are a part of our traditional treatment therapy knowledge? They should not be allowed to use them for commercial purposes," Dr Gupta said.

The CSIR's next step will be to move against the yoga patents already registered abroad.

The United States patent office alone has issued around 3000 patents on yoga postures and their variations.

India to patent yoga asanas - Hindustan Times

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