The Ethics of Patenting Biotechnology

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The European Parliament first exercised the power of veto conferred on it by the Treaty on European Union on 1 March 1995 in order to reject the original version of the Biotechnological Patents Directive.2 At the time, those who believed that there should be stronger ethical controls over biotechnological inventions must have thought that their prayers had been answered, even more so when a revised version of the draft Directive was published later that year, purporting to take into account the moral and ethical concerns raised by the Parliament.3 This article seeks to show that this optimism that the Directive would help to deny patent protection to those biotech inventions perceived as objectionable or even undesirable was sadly misplaced.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Legal Ethics is an international and interdisciplinary journal devoted to the field of legal ethics.
    The journal provides an intellectual meeting ground for academic lawyers, practitioners and policy-makers to debate developments shaping the ethics of law and its practice at the micro and macro levels.
    Its focus is broad enough to encompass empirical research on the ethics and conduct of the legal professions and judiciary, studies of legal ethics education and moral development, ethics development in contemporary professional practice, the ethical responsibilities of law schools, professional bodies and government, and jurisprudential or wider philosophical reflections on law as an ethical system and on the moral obligations of individual lawyers.
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