For millions around the world yoga is a source of relaxation and spiritual sustenance. Not so for the Indian Government, which has worked itself into a furious twist over efforts by American entrepreneurs – including an Indian-born celebrity “yogi” – to patent the ancient practice.
Indian officials announced yesterday that they would lodge official complaints with US authorities over hundreds of yoga-related patents, copyrights and trademarks that have been issued in recent years...
In India, where yoga has been practised for 6,000 years, it is regarded as a Hindu exercise, involving philosophy as well as fitness, and beyond the control of government or private enterprise. In the United States, where yoga first became popular in the 1970s, it has been largely stripped of its cultural and religious overtones and turned into a $3 billion-a-year subset of the fitness industry.
As yoga has moved from marginal to mainstream, US authorities have issued 150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories and 2,315 yoga-related trademarks.
— Larry, Attack Monkey, Light Reading