Patents on Life: Law and Social Ethics

12 March 2020, 6pm

"Patents on Life: Law and Social Ethics", takes place at 6pm 12th March marking publication of the Cambridge University Press book, Patents on Life: Religious, Moral, and Social Justice Aspects of Biotechnology and Intellectual Property (Berg, Cholij, and Ravenscroft eds., 2019).  The event is hosted at Kilburn & Strode, Holborn.

The book covers an array of globally debated issues concerning the ownership of rewards from biotechnology, and the scope of moral or social-justice limits on patents or on licensing practices.

It offers a unique collection of legal, ethical, political, and religious perspectives on:

  • Patenting of gene-sequence material
  • Use of traditional knowledge and genetic resources: "bioprospecting" or "biopiracy"?
  • Patents on genetically engineered crops: their effect on farmers’ productivity and autonomy
  • Patents on gene-editing technology
  • Patents and access to biologic drugs

This event—to which  lawyers, policymakers, NGO leaders, ethicists, and religious scholars and leaders are all welcome—will introduce this rich assortment of perspectives, framed by remarks from prominent academic and judicial voices including:

  • Professor Duncan Matthews, director, Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute; author, Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Development: The Role of NGOs and Social Movements
  • Christopher Rennie-Smith, former Chair of the Board of Appeal, European Patent Office; chapter author in the Patents on Life book
  • The editors of the Patents on Life book: Thomas Berg, Roman Cholij, Simon Ravenscroft

Drinks and nibbles will follow the discussion.

Please register for the event here by Thursday 5th March 2020.



A corresponding event will be held in Cambridge on Friday, 13 March, 5:30-7:30 pm, at the Von Hügel Institute, St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge, Mount Pleasant, Cambridge CB3 0BN. Details and registration available at here.