Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is a subset of herbal medicine. TCM patent applications generally fall into four categories. A Compound formula is the predominant type of patent application in the field of Chinese medicine. This is not surprising because most TCM combines two or more medicinal materials to be effective. Medicinal craft refers to active ingredients extracted from medicinal materials using a specialized process, or the specialized process itself. Medicinal materials refer to the original medicinal materials used in the preparation of Chinese medicines. Some of these original medicinal materials are the whole plant or a certain part of the plant, and some need to be processed. Related products refer to non-medicinal products containing Chinese medicines, including medicated foods, namely functional foods, health products and cosmetics containing Chinese medicines. These categories reflect the main objectives of TCM patent protection: namely, to protect the formula, craft, original materials, and commercial products.
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