Endeavours with traditional herbal drugs in Korea
Prof. Il-Moo Chang of the Natural Products Research Institute, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, presented this paper.
In Korea, three governmental organizations are engaged in dealing with intellectual property. The Korea Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), is concerned with evaluating industrial property (patents), trade marks and designs. It has its own international intellectual property training centre where courses in intellectual property for national and foreign participants are regularly offered. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) is concerned with the evaluation and registration of copyright.
With regard to the intellectual property of traditional medicine, specifically traditional herbal drugs, usually three different registrations are feasible: new formulations using traditional herbal materials, preparations or dosage forms, and computerized data of classical medical information. New formulations may be granted a composition patent with new use claim. When active ingredients in a pure form are isolated, a new substance patent may be granted. When new activity is found, a new use-bound patent may be claimed. New dosage forms can also be a good target for obtaining a new patent. For example, a pill formulation of a certain traditional Chinese formula was successfully switched into a liquid form. Consumers prefer the liquid form, because they believe the active ingredients are absorbed more quickly and prefer the easy administration.
In the case of copyright, the TradiMed DB (Traditional Oriental-Chinese Medicine Database) is a successful example of obtaining the copyright of classical medical information by using computer technology. To obtain copyright, simple conversion of information, e.g. digital characterization recognition technology can not be eligible. That information should be interpreted in terms of present knowledge and processed by computer technology for database construction.