HISTSCI 136 Study Guide - Fall 2018, Comprehensive Midterm Notes - Patent, Molecular Biology, Genetics

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12 Oct 2018
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HISTSCI 136
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
Fall 2018
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History of Biotechnology Lecture Notes
Lecture 2: 9/6/16: Plant Patents
What’s the difference between an invention that’s organic and an invention that’s
inorganic?
oAnswers have varied through the years
How did living organisms become property?
oLuther Burbank
oDiamond v. Chakrabarty (1980)
Trajectory of property law has changed greatly because of biotech
Fruits and flowers lead the way for argument about patenting a human gene
What is a patent?
oConstitution allows Congress the power to promote the Progress of Science and
useful arts for inventors
oChanged to: any new invention or improvement (1793)
oBoth stress “new” and “useful” (novelty and utility)
oDoes this language include living things? No
Living organisms were assumed to be unpatentable until the 19th century
Ex Parte Latimer
o1889: someone tried to patent a fiber inside of pine needles
Patent office was rejected
“Not a patentable invention”
Product of Nature Doctrine
oCan’t patent something from the earth
How is a new plant or flower useful? How is it new?
oIs it truly new or improved upon its past state?
The distribution of seeds and plants led to new thought because of railroads allowing
transport
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USDA was founded in 1862 for different reasons than what it does today
oRated the seeds and plants which were distributed
Seed research was federally funded, then became free for distribution
oCitizens are getting back for what they paid for
oWasn’t repealed until 1980
Private breeders began to step in and create a private seed industry
Luther Burbank (1849-1926)
oSports of nature (mutations)
oWas very famous for his day as a “plant wizard”
oRoughly equal to Edison in fame
oHome in Santa Rosa CA was visited by many celebrities
oOver course of career, he made new plants
oBurbank would not receive money from his patents although he sold his seeds
o“Things that live and grow are a law unto themselves”
oLater in life he became upset because he had minimal protection
Biology is reproductive, where property is exclusive
oHow can these situations collide?
Economic ideals
oNo government aid or even protection… therefore you must sell at a high early
price
Contractual ideals
oPerson selling the plant and the person purchasing the plant enter in a contract to
not give away in any form after purchasing
Trademark ideals
oGive the plant a name, then you can use a company name to protect it
oExample: Stark Nursery trademarked an apple, the Golden Delicious apple
oTrademark law does not stop people from selling a different thing under the same
name
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