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The Significance of ELSPI Perspectives
This edited collection examines the ethical, legal, social and policy implications of genome editing technologies. Moreover, it offers a broad spectrum of timely legal analysis related to bringing genome editing to the market and making it available to patients, including addressing genome editing technology regulation through procedures for regulatory approval, patent law and competition law.

In twelve chapters, this volume offers persuasive arguments for justifying transformative regulatory interventions regarding human genome editing, as well as the various legal venues for introducing necessary or desirable changes needed to create an environment for realizing the potential of genome editing technology for the benefit of patients and society.

Abstract

This article analyses the role that ‘ordre public’ and morality exceptions can play in the granting of patents on inventions in the field of human germline editing and the consequences of this policy option. In order to provide the context for such an analysis, the article will, first, provide an overview of the current patent landscape for relevant genome editing technologies, drawing attention to recent patent disputes and, second, examine ‘ordre public’ and morality exceptions under patent law in international, national and regional law, and the implications for innovation and access to novel treatments. The article argues that patent exceptions should not be used as a blunt policy instrument, nor interpreted in a way that is contrary to the patent system’s overall objectives. The ‘ordre public’ and morality based exceptions in the context of human germline editing should not be interpreted and applied in a way which results in outcomes counterproductive to the goal of balancing innovation with the protection of societal higher normative values. Instead, the application of the exception should be based on a sound understanding of both the underlying science as well as the broader ethical, social, and legal implications, thus enabling case-by-case decisions that provide the basis for patent claim amendments and nuanced purpose-bound protection. Further analysis and debate as to the role that such flexibilities can play in the context of genome editing technologies is therefore both necessary and desirable, and can be facilitated in the ways set out in this article.

Open Access
In: European Journal of Health Law