Media Intellectual Property

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Date Submitted: 04/01/2015 07:10 PM

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Macquarie university |

“Court dismisses second appeal to overturn ruling on corporate human gene patenting” |

SOURCE: ABC NEWS AUTHOR: Jamelle Wells DATE: 06/10/14 |


Michael Rosser |



There are numerous points that the author intends to shed light on in both an attempt to inform the reader and ignite public debate. The most significant and core message of the article is the unanimous decision by the Federal Court to uphold the lower court’s decision that isolated human DNA was a patentable subject matter. This is of course a significant ruling in Australia as it affects those concerned, differently; patentees, researchers and general members of the public. Moreover, this is a controversial area of the law, fraught with emotion on one side, and competitive advantage on the other. Under Australian law it is not possible for a patent to be granted over naturally occurring events.

That being said, it is important to understand the rationale behind the recent decision by the Federal court within the context of Australian Intellectual Property Law. Following this, the ethical implications of this decision will be discussed, and a brief comparison with a decision made by US Supreme concerning biotechnology will be made. For the purpose of length, this critique will only consider the relevant areas of patent law and will not provide a comprehensive review.

The key (and most contentious) area relevant to biotechnology and intellectual property concerns the ‘manner of manufacture’ criteria. This has been considered within the meaning of section 6 of the Statue of Monopolies, i.e., any new process that achieves an economically useful result and has a commercial application. In other words, it is possible to patent human...