Suketu Mehta’s A Big Stretch, NYT, May 7th, begins with chiding the USPTO for issuing “134 patents on yoga accessories and 2,315 yoga trademarks” but goes on to make a much-weaker analogy with pharmaceutical patents in India. Though, I agree with both of his points independently – you can’t really trademark ‘yoga‘ and generic medicenes are life-savers in the Third World – I don’t really see the analogy between a practice and a product. The wisdom in the later case comes from billions of dollars in R&D [and yes, Big Pharma just leeches the federal grants].
ps. A database made from ancient Sanskrit and Tamil texts, available in five international languages containing ayurvedic remedies and hundreds of yoga poses sounds awesomely cool.