Starting with the 13th century, this book explores how patents have been used as an economic protectionist tool, developing and evolving to the point where thousands of patents have been ultimately granted not over inventions, but over isolated or purified biological materials. DNA, invented by no man and once thought to be 'free to all men and reserved exclusively to none', has become cartelised in the hands of multinational corporations. The author questions whether the continuing grant of patents can be justified when they are now used to suppress, rather than promote, research and development in the life sciences.
Luigi Palombi demonstrates that patents are about inventions and not isolated biological materials, which consequently have no bona fide purpose in the innovations of biotechnological science. This book will be important reading for anyone who has an interest in the role that patents have played in economic development - particularly historians, economists and scientists. It will also be of great interest to law academics, lawyers, judges and policymakers.
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