I’d Like a Patent for my Bacterium, Please
When General Electric genetic engineer Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty developed a bacterium that could break down oil spills, he was first denied a patent. In 1980 that decision was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Both Canada and the European Union have since taken very different directions in determining when the patenting of sentient life forms should be permitted.
In an Annual Meeting session, “The Supreme Court and the Ownership of Life: An Oral Argument,” two nationally known appellate lawyers will face off before a panel of judges to argue the issue in a modern context. The program, hosted by the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, happens Friday, July 31 from 8:30 – 10 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
Program moderator will be Dan Polsenberg of Las Vegas. Arguing the case will be Andrew Pincus, Washington, D.C., for the petitioner and Arthur England, Miami, for the respondent. Judges on the panel include Justice Ming W. Chin, Supreme Court of California; Chief Justice James Hardesty, Supreme Court of Nevada; Judge Pauline Newman, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; Judge Ellen F. Rosenblum, Oregon Court of Appeals; and Barbara Rothstein, director, Federal Judicial Center. Commentators are Nina Mak, American Anti-Vivisection Society and Prof. Margaret Foster Riley, University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Va.
Organizing the program are Polsenberg; Jill Mariani, former chair of the Animal Law Committee and assistant district attorney, New York County District Attorney’s Office; and Mariann Sullivan, deputy chief court attorney at the Appellate Division, First Department, New York.
Visit www.abanet.org/tips for more information.