Mr. Ong discusses the controversy regarding biotechnology patents. Opponents of biotechnology patents are concerned that these patents show disrespect for life and nature, expropriate the traditional knowledge of indigenous communities, and encourage practices that threaten the environment. Proponents of biotechnology patents argue that patents are, at worst, neutral on such issues because they only grant a right to exclude; moreover, such patents encourage innovation in the public interest. Ong focuses instead on whether an individual inventor deserves an intellectual property right based on his contributions to a modified living organism or an organic substance derived from a living organism. He argues that such inventors deserve process patents at best; inventors do not deserve product patents based on their contributions to the natural world. Ong concludes his article by showing how his thesis is also supported by intellectual property theory and diverse philosophical values.
Burton T. Ong,
Patenting the Biological Bounty of Nature: Re-examining the Status of Organic Inventions as Patentable Subject Matter,
8 Marq. Intellectual Property L. Rev. 1
Available at: http://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/iplr/vol8/iss1/1