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A recent decision from the IPAB on the patent eligibility of biological processes could change the biotech playing field in India, say Swarup Kumar and Shivaarti Bajaj.
Commenting on the US Supreme Court’s historic decision Diamond v Chakrabarty, 447 US 303 (1980), which permitted the patenting of life forms, Justice Warren Burger said: “No one will be able to deter the scientific mind from probing into the unknown any more than Canute could command the tides”. Probing into the unknown and the possibility of patenting one’s invention is what has catalysed scientific advancement in all fields of technology.
Nonetheless, the grant of patents in one of the most demanding fields—for life forms, biological materials and biological processes—continues to cause apprehension in view of the associated ethical, moral and political sensitivities.
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IPAB; patent eligibility; US Supreme Court; Monsanto