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    Patents, Governance and Control: Ethics and the Patentability of Novel Beings and Advanced Biotechnologies in Europe

    McMahon, Aisling (2021) Patents, Governance and Control: Ethics and the Patentability of Novel Beings and Advanced Biotechnologies in Europe. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 30 (3). pp. 529-542. ISSN 0963-1801

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    This article focuses primarily on to what extent novel beings, and particularly, beings which display something akin to human consciousness or agency would be (or should be) patentable under current European patent law. Patents grant the patent holder a right to exclude others from using the patented invention for the period of patent grant (usually 20 years). This allows the patent holder to control how that invention can or cannot be used by others downstream, granting patent holders a governance like function over the patented technology for the duration of the patent. Accordingly, the potential for patentability of novel beings gives rise to a myriad of ethical issues including: to what extent is it appropriate for patent holders to retain and exercise patents over “novel beings”; how issues of “agency” displayed by any “novel beings” would fit within the current patent framework, if at all; and to what extent existing exclusions from patentability might exclude patents on “novel beings” or whether changes within patent law may be needed if patents in relation to “novel beings” are deemed ethically problematic. This article focuses on such issues, and in doing so, also sheds light on the role of ethical issues within the patenting of advanced biotechnologies more generally.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Patents; Patent ethics; biotechnology; novel beings; morality provisions; European patent law;
    Academic Unit: Assisting Living & Learning,ALL institute
    Faculty of Science and Engineering > Research Institutes > Human Health Institute
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Law
    Item ID: 18525
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Aisling McMahon
    Date Deposited: 16 May 2024 09:03
    Journal or Publication Title: Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
    Publisher: Cambridge
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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