IT/IP/Life Sciences: The moral maze
Objections to patent applications are regularly made by interested third parties. Objections can be made on a number of grounds including moral or ethical objections. In the UK, section 1(3) of the Patents Act 1977 states that "a patent shall not be granted for an invention the commercial exploitation of which would be contrary to public policy or morality". The European Patent Convention similarly excludes inventions "the publication or exploitation of which would be contrary to... morality". This ground is intended to prevent the granting of patents which would enable the applicant to profit from a morally objectionable invention - land mines, for instance.
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