The Los Angeles Times has a short editorial on patent proliferation [registration probably required], which notes that government researchers in New Delhi are accumulating a database of items “that are common knowledge in that country, including yoga positions and traditional Indian medical practices”.

The article reports this as a response to the perceived effect of the patent system widening the gaps between developed and developing nations, particularly where old knowledge is picked up and patented:

When a U.S. company obtains a patent for a line of aromatic rice plants similar to India’s basmati rice, it’s easy to see why Indian rice growers would cry foul. In extreme cases, this practice amounts to taking something that’s been available to the public and turning it into a private source of profits.