Intellectual Property and Emerging Technologies: The New Biology

Cheltenham and Northampton (MA): Edward Elgar Publishing, January 2012

Posted: 5 Mar 2012 Last revised: 1 Jun 2018

See all articles by Matthew Rimmer

Matthew Rimmer

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Alison McLennan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: February 1, 2012


This unique and comprehensive collection investigates the challenges posed to intellectual property by recent paradigm shifts in biology. It explores the legal ramifications of emerging technologies, such as genomics, synthetic biology, stem cell research, nanotechnology, and biodiscovery.

Extensive contributions examine recent controversial court decisions in patent law – such as Bilski v. Kappos, and the litigation over Myriad’s patents in respect of BRCA1 and BRCA2 – while other papers explore sui generis fields, such as access to genetic resources, plant breeders' rights, and traditional knowledge. The collection considers the potential and the risks of the new biology for global challenges – such as access to health-care, the protection of the environment and biodiversity, climate change, and food security. It also considers Big Science projects – such as biobanks, the 1000 Genomes Project, and the Doomsday Vault. The inter-disciplinary research brings together the work of scholars from Australia, Canada, Europe, the UK and the US and involves not only legal analysis of case law and policy developments, but also historical, comparative, sociological, and ethical methodologies.

Intellectual Property and Emerging Technologies will appeal to policy-makers, legal practitioners, business managers, inventors, scientists and researchers.



Introduction: Inventing Life: Intellectual Property and the New Biology Alison McLennan and Matthew Rimmer

PART I: A HISTORY OF BIODISCOVERY 1. Of Plants, Pills and Patents: Circulating Knowledge Eva Hemmungs Wirtén

PART II: MEDICINE, BIOTECHNOLOGY AND GENOMICS 2. Bilski v. Kappos and Biotechnology Patents: Back to the Future? Yann Joly and Francis Hemmings

3. The Current State of Patent Eligibility of Medical and Biotechnology Inventions in the United States Joshua D. Sarnoff

4. Patent Law, the Emerging Biotechnologies and the Role of Language in Subject-Matter Expansionism Graham Dutfield

PART III: BIOBANKS, BIOINFORMATICS AND BIOBRICKS 5. Standards for Biobank Access and Intellectual Property Dianne Nicol and Richard Gold

6. The 1000 Genomes Project Donna M. Gitter

7. Building with BioBricks: Constructing a Commons for Synthetic Biology Research Alison McLennan

PART IV: GENETICS, STEM CELLS AND NANOTECHNOLOGY 8. Regulating Gene Regulation: Patenting Small RNAs Adam Bostanci, Jane Calvert and Pierre-Benoit Joly

9. Stem Cell Patents: Looking for Serenity Amina Agovic

10. Cosmo, Cosmolino: Patent Law and Nanotechnology Alison McLennan and Matthew Rimmer

PART V: BIODIVERSITY, FOOD SECURITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE 11. Patenting the Kakadu Plum and the Marjarla Tree: Biodiscovery, Intellectual Property and Indigenous Knowledge Sarah Holcombe and Terri Janke

12. Climate-Ready Crops: Intellectual Property, Agriculture and Climate Change Matthew Rimmer

13. The Doomsday Vault: Seed Banks, Food Security and Climate Change Matthew Rimmer

Keywords: Intellectual Property, The New Biology, Biotechnology, Research, Innovation, Health, The Environment, Climate Change

Suggested Citation

Rimmer, Matthew and McLennan, Alison, Intellectual Property and Emerging Technologies: The New Biology (February 1, 2012). Cheltenham and Northampton (MA): Edward Elgar Publishing, January 2012, Available at SSRN:

Matthew Rimmer (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, Queensland QLD 4000

Alison McLennan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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