Patenting of Microorganisms

Author : Prashant R Dahat

A patent is a bunch of exclusive rights granted by the state to an inventor or his assignee upon satisfying certain conditions. The inventor is given a monopoly right over the product for a fixed number of years in exchange for the public disclosure of certain details of a machine, method or composition of matter. The object of patent law is to encourage scientific research, new technology and industrial progress. It stimulates new inventions of commercial utility. The patent is granted for a limited period to the inventor. After the period of expiry of the patent the monopoly goes into public domain. Lately patent regimes around the globe have recognized the utility and innovative prospects of patenting of microorganisms.

In initial days of development of patent mechanisms there was an over burden of Ethical and Moral firewalls surrounding the idea of resting the right of commercial exploitation of certain substances and resources in the hands of a selected few. Patenting by many was opined as a capitalist centric idea. The taboos were even more incasing of patenting life forms, considering the religious, moral and notional values attached. With advancements in Pharmaceutical Industry and increasing stress on biotechnological research, pressure started mounting on policy makers to allow such patenting of basic life forms so as to encourage research and development [R&D] initiatives in the field which can contribute in exploring the unrecognized commercial utility of such life forms. Continue reading “Patenting of Microorganisms”