Animal Patents: The Legal, Economic and Social Issues by William Lesser

By William Lesser

Following the U.S. Patent Office's statement in 1987 that it considers animals "to be patentable material in the scope" of patent legislation, there was significant world wide debate in this topic. This paintings contains the court cases of the Animal Patents Symposium held at Cornell college, united states, on December 5-6, 1988, equipped through the editor of this paintings.

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BACKGROUND TO CONGRESSIONAL CONSIDERATION Patents The US Congress, through its constitutional powers, has jurisdiction over matters relating to animal patents. " The first patent act was enacted by Congress in 1790. " Subsequent patent statutes, enacted in 1793, 1836, 1870, and 1874, employed the same broad language as the 1790 act. The Patent Act of 1952 replaced "art" with "process" as patentable subject matter. " In 1970, the Supreme Court, in a five-to-four ruling, held that a live, human-made microorganism is patentable subject matter as a "manufacture" or "composition of matter" (Diamond v.

It could be readily duplicated by others skilled in the art). Since the animal-breeding process claimed in the "Red Dove" case was not repeatable merely on the basis of a written description no patent was issued. Apart from the generally criticized repeatability requirement, this decision was well received. This was because it particularly broadened the concept of a patentable invention to encompass animal-breeding methods and animals per se. Unlike the 1980 Diamond v. Chakrabarty decision of the US 2 1 IIC 137(1970) 17 Legal Issues Supreme Court and the recent grant of the Leder transgenic mouse patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office (Raines, 1988), the "Red Dove" decision was not followed by discussions devoted to either the ethical and moral aspects of patenting animals or to the possible economic effects of such patenting.

70 (summer): 64 et seq. Ruttan, V. W. (1982) Agricultural Research Policy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Savignon, F. : 83 et seq. Straus, J. (1984) Patent Protection for New Varieties of Plants Produced by Genetic 28 Development and Status of European Law Engineering: Should "Double Protection" Be Prohibited? Int. Rev. Ind. Property Copyright Law, 15: 426 et seq. - - (1985) Industrial Property Protection of Biotechnological Inventions, Analysis of Certain Basic Issues. Geneva: World Intellectual Property Organization, BIG 281 (July).

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