January 13, 2010 In a report (A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health) published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences, “researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto’s GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.” Monsanto refuted the study, in Monsanto Response: de Vendomois et al. 2009, and […]
This video from the political advocacy group Greenpeace, provides an overview of the contentious issues of biotechnology (genetic engineering) as it applies to food production. In some ways, biotechnology is the equivalent of the abortion rights issue of the agriculture world. Both sides of the debate hold entrenched views. Those in opposition to its use […]
In this final post, I shift ground a bit to talk about a case the Supreme Court will consider in its new term starting this fall. The case is known Bilski v. Doll. The Bilski case raises the basic question, when is a process too abstract to be patentable? The answer to the question will obviously be most pertinent to patents on things like computer software and methods of conducting business (such as finance or marketing strategies). But, depending on how the Court explains its decision, the case could have broader implications for whether people can patent other processes, such as a process for diagnosing an illness or for treating an illness.
In Claire Hope Cummings book, Uncertain Peril, she writes about the importance of preserving biodiversity, and native plant species.
Finally, I suggested two big questions that these new statutes left unanswered: (1) does a living organism other than a plant fall within the patentable subject matter categories for regular utility patents?; and (2) do plants, and seeds, fall within the patentable subject matter categories for regular utility patents? These questions, especially the second, are pressing because utility patent protection is stronger than either of the special protections designed just for plants.