This week’s Public Affairs Discussion Group to cover ”Patenting Genes”

Craig NardThe weekly Public Affairs Discussion Group will continue this week with a talk titled, “Patenting Genes.”

Craig Nard, the Tom J.E. and Bette Lou Walker Professor of Law and the director of the Center for Law, Technology and the Arts, will lead the discussion, which will take place Friday, Oct. 18, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Dampeer Room at Kelvin Smith Library.

On June 13, the Supreme Court—in a unanimous decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas—ruled that naturally occurring human genes cannot be patented. The U.S. Constitution explicitly grants Congress the power to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” This does not create a right, but does allow a policy.

Nard will share his views and try to answer the questions:

  • What are the implications of this ruling for the biotech industry?
  • Is the prospect of high profits really necessary to encourage research?
  • Is it worth the possible restrictions on access to the fruits of the research?

Since 1989, faculty, emeriti, students and staff have gathered on Fridays for a brown-bag lunch and to discuss topics in public affairs.

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