Nanotechnology, Human Rights, Patent Law and the Global South: A Brief Overview
Nordberg, A 2013, 'Nanotechnology, Human Rights, Patent law and the Global South: a brief overview'. in M Viola de Azevedo Cunha, NN Gomes de Andrade, L Lixinski & LT Féteira (eds), New Technologies and Human Rights: Challenges to regulation. Ashgate, pp. 313-332.
Posted: 8 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 3, 2015
The present chapter is written from a Global South perspective, being that the term in this context refers to less affluent regions of the globe, regardless of country and geographical location. The chapter presents a brief overview of the potential of nanotechnology to serve either as vehicle for broader attainability of human rights or to undermine current efforts. Particular attention is drawn to the complex interconnected issues of ensuring even access to the benefits of technological development and the need to maintain adequate levels of economic incentive to innovation. Throughout this chapter, it will be sustained that nanotechnology poses normative challenges implying the need to re-evaluate the functioning of exclusions, exceptions and limitations to patent rights as mechanisms for safekeeping accessibility. Part one contains a short characterization of nanotechnology followed by the description of the current key fields of scientific research, state of the art and expectations for the future. In part two the social and economic relevance of nanotechnology and its implication for the Global South is explored. This is followed in the third part, by framing such social, ethical and legal aspects of nanotechnology in terms of human rights issues. The fourth part analysis current patent rules intended to safe keep accessibility while confronted with the new challenges brought by nanotechnology inventions.
Keywords: Nanotechnology, Emerging Technologies, Patents, Human rights
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