The Internet Times Supplement

…And What If I Then Have Children?

In Business & Finance, Food & Drink, Law and Order, Science, Technology on February 22, 2013 at 8:00 am




There are two interesting cases before the Supreme Court which are noteworthy for a number of reasons. The first case involved a farmer and Monsanto and the second will determine whether human genes can be patented. There are two articles currently in the NYT about the first case. Here and here.


Firstly, one judge has already recused themselves due to a relatively minor conflict of interest while another has not (Clarence Thomas) despite having a MAJOR conflict of interest (he used to work for one of the parties in the case before the court). Secondly, the case has huge implications for others who are not part of the case being heard. Thirdly, and this is the reason for the title of this post, the overall issue is one of whether the producer of a patented ‘thing’ which is self-replicating has copyright over the ‘things’ produced by the ‘thing’ when they are the same ‘thing’. Extend the thought forward to the SECOND case which is being heard (the patenting of human and other DNA). What if you are the recipient of some new innovative treatment which changes your genetic makeup? When you then go on to have children, is this patented and copyrighted DNA now the property of the company who invented it?


What IS apparent is that Monsanto are in one aspect right and the farmer is pushing his luck on this but … there is still the profiteering by selling the seed each year. There is a chasm between using technology to prevent starvation and the currently implemented model… ho hum.


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