Editor: Avgi Kaisi
It is thought that Life Sciences and Biotechnology will be the most promising technological frontiers within converging technologies in the coming decades. Biotechnology has been the driving force behind many key developments in the medical, pharmaceutical, agrichemical, environmental and energy sectors. There is, therefore, clearly a need for legal protection for such developments and inventions.
However, despite the celebrated judgment of “Diamond v. Chackrabarty” in 1980, in which the US Supreme Court ruled that “anything under the sun that is made by man” can be the subject matter of IP (Intellectual Property) protection, several issues are still being hotly debated in both the scientific and legal worlds.
The recent Myriad case perfectly illustrates the ongoing debate on the question of what is patentable and what is to be considered a product of nature (and therefore not patentable). In particular, the question of whether isolated or purified human genes can be patented has been addressed; in other cases, the most controversial point is not what is patentable but rather what the ethical implications of research and patenting are (e.g. Embryonic Stem Cell research and patenting).
This section gathers together judicial, legislative and academic materials concerning the development of such debates.
We invite those readers who are interested in this initiative to send comments, materials or literature related to IP rights and Biotechnology to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org .
17 January 2012, Case Brustle v. Green Peace -
16 October 2011, America’s first patent system reform since 1952 -
20 May 2011, The patenting of human genes: The Myriad Case -
20 May 2011, The future of patents on embryonic stem cells in Europe: The case Brustle v. Greenpeace eV -
19 February 2013, The German Federal Supreme Court has ruled on the patentability of neural precursor cells, by Thomas Musmann of Rospatt Osten Pross and Miriam Buttner
27 November 2012, First Gene Therapy Approved by the European Commission
12 November 2012, "Myriad and the use of Trade Secrets on DNA data", by Steve Connor and Sir Bruce Ponder