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Creating the TEK*PAD Website
To create TEK*PAD (Traditional Ecological Knowledge Prior Art Database), AAAS's Stephen Hansen met with plant examiners at the United States Patent and Trademark Office at the Department of Commerce to ask them how valuable such a site would be for their patent application process.
"In essence, they said, 'Go for it,'" Hansen says. Discovering that the Internet contained a vast amount of sources for indigenous knowledge, the anthropologist began collecting information into a small database. During his Internet search of websites on indigenous knowledge or "prior art," he used a "mining" process to locate and collect databases for the site.
Although many of the sites were already based in the public domain, there were a few commercial ones. Hansen says he contacted the owners to receive permission, verifying the legitimacy of the sites by evaluating and crosschecking the entries to certify their medicinal and ceremonial uses. He continues to update the site daily and seeks to add a function that will allow individuals to directly add their information on prior art.
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