Can you get a TM, Patent or Copyright on Yoga?
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Over the years, a lot of lawsuits have occurred worldwide regarding entities trying to trademark names including yoga or copyright protection on the sequence of yoga ‘asana’ routines or techniques. But each one has had a similar outcome that anyone trying to gain IP protection in this regard has been refused. As per various courts and precedents set worldwide in this regard, it is often cited that – yoga has been something mentioned in the scriptures, hence it is public records and no person or entity can get an IP on it.
There is also one view among the legal fraternity that ‘Yoga’ even “Bikram Yoga” is now a generic term and beyond the scope of any form of IP protection. Unlike choreography, due to public records and the generic nature of the exercise form, which has been a part of our culture for thousands of years, a TM or copyright on ‘Yoga’ cannot be granted to any private persons or entity.
As it is popular knowledge and through the discovery of artefacts and scriptures that ‘Yoga’ originated from India. Even one cannot patent it as it has literally been around since the beginning of civilization itself. So anything related to it in all probability will not be unique, innovative or new. Hence, even getting a patent seems an impossible feat.People or entities may be able to TM company or brand names with the word ‘Yoga’ for various services, products etc but they cannot claim any IP over its form, origin or practice.
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