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Since 2001 the Intergovernmental Committee of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been directing discussions on world protection of the traditional knowledge of each country. In February 2003, at the seventh session of the Meeting of International Authorities under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Meeting agreed in principal that documentation on traditional knowledge should be included in the non-patent literature part of the PCT minimum documentation; WIPO also presented a set of criteria for such inclusion.

In line with the international protection movement, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) decided in 2004 to formulate information strategy planning for the building of a database of traditional knowledge. The database, which was compiled between 2005 and 2007, is based on traditional Korean medicine. A search service of the database commenced in December 2007.

KIPO’s database of traditional knowledge includes a vast amount of knowledge from documentation on old Korean and Chinese medicine; it also includes a wide range of articles and patent documents. Thus, it contains traditional knowledge from the past and the present.

The database is presented on-line through the Korean Traditional Knowledge Portal (KTKP). The reasons for making the database publicly accessible through the KTKP are as follows:

1. To lay the foundation for international protection of Korean traditional knowledge, thereby preventing unauthorized use of patents inside and outside the country.

2. To provide an abundance of information on traditional knowledge and related research, thereby expediting the development of related studies and industries.

3. To provide essential information for patent examinations, thereby enhancing the quality of intellectual property applications for traditional knowledge.

Current structure of the KTKP database (As of the end of 2007)



No. of items of information


Main database

Articles database

Information on excerpts of articles, PDF files of original articles, and articles from scientific journals in the fields of Oriental medicine, pharmacology, sitology, biology, etc.


Korean, English
(17 % of original copies are in English)

Herb database

Information on medicinal herbs recorded in old documents of traditional Korean medicine.



Prescription database

Information on prescriptions recorded in old documents of traditional Korean medicine.


Disease database

Information on diseases recorded in old documents of traditional Korean medicine and the relation of such treatments to the corresponding treatment in Western medicine.


Support database

Patent analysis database

Information on the International Patent Classification and keywords from databases, including the words articles, herbs, prescriptions, and disease.


Herb compounds database

Information on compound ingredients extracted from herbs


Compounds in the articles index database

Information about compounds in the articles index



Database terminology re herbs, prescriptions, and diseases


Mapping of terms for diseases in Oriental and Western medicine

Mapping of terms for diseases in Oriental and Western medicine.





DB Diagram


Note the following:

· The articles database is linked to the herb database and the compound database at the same subject level.

· The herb database is linked to the disease database through the name of the main disease; it is also linked to the prescription database through the name of an inclusive prescription; in addition, it is linked to the compound database through the name of a compound.

· The disease database and the prescription database are linked to the herb, prescription, and disease databases through the name of a field.

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