Biotechnology and Patent Rights: Seeking the Common Good?
Biological research and its commercial applications are posing fundamental and complex questions for policy-makers, from privacy rights to reproductive rights to issues of whether there is a right to die, and even what constitutes death and how to define a human being. Recombinant DNA (rDNA) presents particularly complex issues across a number of categories: risks (for research as well as distribution and disposal), including intergenerational and long-term ecological effects on both national and international levels; expenditure of public funds for R&D; patenting rights; effects on domestic economies and on the international balance of payments; and effects on academic science. Last, and perhaps most important, are the potentially profound changes to society as rDNA products enter the market — from effects on small farms to changes in reproductive choices to the introduction of wholly new kinds of evidence admissible in court.
KeywordsCivil Society Life Form Patent Protection North American Free Trade Agreement Liberal Government
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