Free «Life Forms as Subjects of Patents» Essay

Life Forms as Subjects of Patents

From the very beginning patents were to ensure that the inventor will receive all benefits from the usage of his/her invention(s). Nowadays Patent Law are generally used by companies rather than by individuals. As for the patent on life, the fact which should be mentioned is that the living organisms were excluded from the patent law for over two hundred years. This fact is explained by a theory that life forms are a product of nature and not an invention of humans. Such kind of practice was changed in 1980 due to the decision on case Diamond v. Chakrabarty made by a Supreme Court when a modified bacteria was a subject of patents as it was changed by an individual.

Still, there are different points of view about a need to patent the forms of life. As for me, I partly disagree with a practice of patenting any life forms. The only opportunity to do it is to invent another life form. However, this statement brings several crucial questions. The first one is: do we have a clear and general definition of the life form?  Without this definition we do not know what characteristic a life form should have to be considered as an invention.

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Another question is to be answered: can modification be considered as an invention or not? Can we modify already existed life form and patent it later as a new one? The court practice shows that it is possible to patent a modified form. As for me, I can not agree with this theory as the life form is the same: it is more or less changed but still it is the same form of life.

The last issue I would like to mention is the fact that there is nothing against patenting things which have influence or in other ways connected to some forms of life, i.e. human genes, cell lines and tissues. The mains goals of these inventions are to help or cure. Moreover, the answers to mentioned questions will not change depending on the form of life we are going to speak about: either it is human beings or animal, plants or bacteria, or any other forms. Probably, for me these types of patent are the most possible options of patenting. 

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