Penicillins: Their Chemical History and Legal Disputes in New Zealand
Chemistry in New Zealand, Vol. 73, No. 3, pp. 116-124, 2009
9 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2011
Date Written: 2009
Though the antibacterial potential of penicillin was first discovered in 1928, leading to an impure form being isolated in the 1940s and a biosynthetic form being invented in the late 1950s, penicillins continue to be granted patents. This article provides a chemical history of penicillin, how it functions in biological systems and how it has been developed since its initial discovery. It briefly expounds and comments on the patents relating to penicillin in New Zealand and the disputes that have arisen. Legal issues raised by penicillin are not fully explored; rather they have been used to provide a window into the patent-protected empire that can be built from a single discovery.
Keywords: penicillin, patent law, chemical history, legal history, novelty, obviousness, inventive step
JEL Classification: K11, K21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation