Impact of bioethics on patentability of inventions

Vishwas H Devaiah

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2010.005


This paper examines the impact of bioethics on patent claims. The increase in research activities involving human biological materials, and the rush to commercialise inventions derived from such biological materials, can at times result in unethical conduct of research. Questions arise as to whether patent law should concern itself with tainted research that has resulted in an invention or whether it should grant patent rights solely on the basis of the technical improvements resulting from such research. This paper highlights the significance of ethical practice in biomedical research, an issue that may influence the decision to grant patents on inventions. It explores the relation between morality, bioethics and patents from the perspective of the objectives of the patent system and current developments in the law on patents. The inclusion of the morality provision in patent law introduces a mechanism through which inventions derived from tainted research can be filtered at an early stage.

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