Appropriating living organisms
Appropriating living organisms must not be considered in isolation but rather as a factor that is very revealing of the generalised trend " to make marketable " that in our societies affects all economic values, such as name, privacy or image. The consequence is that property rights are constantly being extended. The most flagrant illustration of this evolution is its application to software programmes and living organisms. The use of the patent was made possible by what Alain Claeys calls an indisputable distortion of the classical criteria of patentability which are novelty, inventive step, industrial application. With this report, Alain Claeys returns to the subject he had started to address in his December 2001 report devoted to the patentability of living organisms, which focused essentially on an analysis of EC Directive 98/44 of the European Parliament and the Council of July 6, 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions. In this new work, Alain Claeys explores more deeply the consequences of this trend to appropriate living organisms from the point of view of developing countries and the legal, economic, ethical and social problems. Alain Claeys presents twelve recommendations for adoption at national, European and international level. The subject of the appropriation of living organisms cannot be ignored by politics. Alain Claeys strongly urges politicians to resume their consideration of it. He would like the patentability of living organisms to be addressed taking into account its numerous consequences (ethical, social and economic) like a legitimate question of society that only legal experts would be able to settle. It is therefore up to the politicians to make a considerable investment in this area and contribute decisively so that choices are made to avoid the appropriation of living organisms. This area could be considered as the symbol of a determination to build a controlled globalisation based on solidarity.
Short title:
Appropriating living organisms
Start date:
End date:
Biotechnology, Ethics, Expert-based, Governance, Innovation, IT & communication, Parliament involvement
Project leader:
Office Parlementaire dĀ“Evaluation des Choix Scientifiques et Technologiques of the French Parliament (OPECST)