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Patentability of human enhancement : From ethical dilemmas to legal (un)certainty

Nordberg, Ana LU orcid (2018) p.54-92
Abstract
Emerging technologies are paving the way for future revolutionary advances in science that may open the possibility to change the very anthropological definition of human being. This mere possibility has lead to ethical interrogations concerning the nature and boundaries of human nature and our relationship with science and technology. Meanwhile the Law has faced the challenge of reflecting on the legitimacy to legislate and whether the existing legal framework is appropriate to address the ethical concerns that emerging technologies bring fourth. It is a delicate balancing act between human dignity, autonomy, non-discrimination, equality, and justice. Anchored in this background, this work is a reflection on the role of European Patent... (More)
Emerging technologies are paving the way for future revolutionary advances in science that may open the possibility to change the very anthropological definition of human being. This mere possibility has lead to ethical interrogations concerning the nature and boundaries of human nature and our relationship with science and technology. Meanwhile the Law has faced the challenge of reflecting on the legitimacy to legislate and whether the existing legal framework is appropriate to address the ethical concerns that emerging technologies bring fourth. It is a delicate balancing act between human dignity, autonomy, non-discrimination, equality, and justice. Anchored in this background, this work is a reflection on the role of European Patent Law in this debate. The European Patent system contains rules designed to prevent the grant of patents concerning inventions that do not conform to the prevailing ethical standards – article 53 (a) European Patent Convention. Thus, in a sense European Patent Law was entrusted with a regulatory function. However, not only such construction is objectionable in abstract terms, as new technologies pose growing challenges to its effectiveness. Several issues require clarification. This article will begin by analyzing the concept of human enhancement and proposing for the current patent law analysis purposes its replacement with a more neutral term and narrow definition. The ethical questions surrounding these technological advances and prospects will be reviewed from a legal perspective, by framing such ethical considerations as human rights and general principles of law. Building upon the previous considerations the third part of this article will consider the patentability of such technologies in Europe.
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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Private law, Patent eligibility, Patent exceptions, Human enhancement, Induced human evolution, Emerging technologies, Nanotechnology patents, Synthetic Biology, Law and ethics, Civilrätt, Patenträtt
host publication
Intellectual Property Perspectives on the Regulation of New Technologies
editor
Pistorius, Tana
pages
39 pages
publisher
Edward Elgar Publishing
external identifiers
  • scopus:85075491420
ISBN
9781786436382
9781786436375
DOI
10.4337/9781786436382.00009
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c6bebf94-2454-4291-bddc-993a1c2695d6
date added to LUP
2018-01-11 10:00:12
date last changed
2021-08-18 04:00:05
@inbook{c6bebf94-2454-4291-bddc-993a1c2695d6,
  abstract     = {Emerging technologies are paving the way for future revolutionary advances in science that may open the possibility to change the very anthropological definition of human being. This mere possibility has lead to ethical interrogations concerning the nature and boundaries of human nature and our relationship with science and technology. Meanwhile the Law has faced the challenge of reflecting on the legitimacy to legislate and whether the existing legal framework is appropriate to address the ethical concerns that emerging technologies bring fourth. It is a delicate balancing act between human dignity, autonomy, non-discrimination, equality, and justice. Anchored in this background, this work is a reflection on the role of European Patent Law in this debate. The European Patent system contains rules designed to prevent the grant of patents concerning inventions that do not conform to the prevailing ethical standards – article 53 (a) European Patent Convention. Thus, in a sense European Patent Law was entrusted with a regulatory function. However, not only such construction is objectionable in abstract terms, as new technologies pose growing challenges to its effectiveness. Several issues require clarification. This article will begin by analyzing the concept of human enhancement and proposing for the current patent law analysis purposes its replacement with a more neutral term and narrow definition. The ethical questions surrounding these technological advances and prospects will be reviewed from a legal perspective, by framing such ethical considerations as human rights and general principles of law. Building upon the previous considerations the third part of this article will consider the patentability of such  technologies in Europe.<br/>},
  author       = {Nordberg, Ana},
  booktitle    = {Intellectual Property Perspectives on the Regulation of New Technologies},
  editor       = {Pistorius, Tana},
  isbn         = {9781786436382},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {54--92},
  publisher    = {Edward Elgar Publishing},
  title        = {Patentability of human enhancement : From ethical dilemmas to legal (un)certainty},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.4337/9781786436382.00009},
  doi          = {10.4337/9781786436382.00009},
  year         = {2018},
}