Acquisition of Living Things by Specification

Edinburgh Law Review, Vol. 8, pp. 112-115, 2004

6 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2008  

Ernest Metzger

University of Glasgow - School of Law

Date Written: October 31, 2008

Abstract

Ownership of the product of living things, such as human tissue or cultures developed from human cells, is difficult for the law to determine. Civilian jurisdictions, with their legal heritage grounded in Roman law, offer one solution. Civilian jurisdictions would resolve such cases under the rules of specificatio (specification). A recent case from the Outer House of the Scottish Court of Session (Kinloch Damph Ltd v Nordvik Salmon Farms Ltd) addresses the problem. The case was properly decided, though the grounds of the decision could be improved. Specifically, on civil law principles, civilian courts ought to award ownership of a living thing to a maker/manufacturer who has altered the living thing's natural pattern of development.

Keywords: Human tissue, cell lines, ownership, specificatio, Roman law

Suggested Citation

Metzger, Ernest, Acquisition of Living Things by Specification (October 31, 2008). Edinburgh Law Review, Vol. 8, pp. 112-115, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1292597

Ernest Metzger (Contact Author)

University of Glasgow - School of Law ( email )

Stair Building
5 - 8 The Square
Glasgow, Scotland G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

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