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No copyright over yoga, pranic healing techniques: HC

The court has held that the expression ‘pranic healing’ cannot be monopolised as trademark by the institute.

January 15, 2014 3:36:50 am
Court held that yoga was not choreographic work. Court held that yoga was not choreographic work.

The Delhi High Court has held that no one can be given copyright over pranic healing asanas and other yoga techniques, as they are neither original literary works nor dramatic works.

In a lengthy judgment on the legal principles involved in copyright and trademark law, Justice Manmohan Singh held that “without testing the novelty in any appropriate art or technique and giving monopoly over performance art or exercising techniques which are apparently pre-existing in the ancient history of India would be a serious intrusion into the public domain.”

The 150-page judgment was pronounced on a suit for injunction filed by the Philippines-based Institute for Inner Studies, seeking prohibitory orders to restrain the Pranic Healing Foundation of Delhi, and other affiliated institutes, from using pranic healing teachings, asanas and other teachings claimed to have been invented by Master Choa Kok Su.

The court has allowed the plea to a limited extent, prohibiting the defendants from reproducing the books written by the Master in material form and also restraining them from selling or distributing the books, CDs, manuals and other trade literature.

However, the court emphasised that the copyright on the asanas and the techniques could not be said to vest in the Master.

“The protection shall not be extended to include the monopoly right over the performance of the said asanas of yoga or pranic healing on the strength of the manner of the expression as stated in book as doing the same would be giving the monopoly right to the art or technique itself which is available in public domain from time immemorial which is also evident from the books available on record,” the court said.

In a detailed discussion on the definitions of “dramatic works” and “literary works”, the court held that while “arts and exercises like yoga, pranic healing technique or daily routine exercises though appear to be choreographic work”, are not a choreographic work.

The court has also held that the expression ‘pranic healing’ cannot be monopolised as trademark by the institute.

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