Indian NGO to seek a patent on the advocate general of the European Court of Justice
New Delhi, India; June 16
Following the 'extraordinary' brilliance demonstrated by the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in his marathon arguements in favour of the patenting of life forms, the New Delhi-based non-governmental organisation, Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security, has decided to seek a patent on the distinguished legal luminary, Mr Francis Jacob.
"Mr Francis Jacob's landmark opinion, which will eventually be upheld by the European Court of Justice, and will then provide the legal cover-up for the ultimate control of human, animal and plant life by a handful of private companies, needs to be appreciated," the Forum's chair, Mr Devinder Sharma said, adding, "We would like to begin by seeking a monopoloy control over such a unique configuration of genes and cell lines in Francis Jacob's brain that led to this historic view. By seeking an IPR control, we aim to block any further proliferation of the ill-conceived thought process."
Mr Sharma has sought international assistance from commercial groups and others for seeking this patent. "We need support and direction. We need to know where to file for patenting Mr Francis Jacob's entire genetic make-up. I am hopeful of big support from the multinational industry, which I am sure will like to ensure that the patent does not fall into wrong hands."
"The patent, if granted, may also save the international judiciary from any further fall in grace and loss of credibility," he added, saying that the judiciary is coming under increasing public pressure to ressurect its public image following the case of Percy Schmeiser in Canada, where the judge ruled that the farmer is to be held responsible and has to pay a penalty for any contamination of his plants by patented genes flowing with the wind.
In any case, if human genes and cell lines can be patented why not the entire human being, Sharma asked. Similarly, why debate unnecessarily into the merits and demerits of Article 27.3 (b) of the TRIPs Agreement, when the plant genes and DNA fragments can be patented. A sui generis system that the developing countries are being asked to prepare, will in no way protect the plants and genetic resources from being patented. This also renders the sui generis laws irrelevant.
The Advocate General's 116-page opinion is believed to have examined the arguments presented in the case one by one. It ranged from matters of how the European directive (98/44/EC) was adopted, to issues of conflict with the Convention on Biodiversity and basic human rights. He finally concluded that the motion to annul the directive, tabled by the Dutch government in October 1998, and joined a few months later by Italy and Norway be dismissed, i.e. rejected.
The directive was adopted in June 1998 after ten years of controversy and public protest. It allows for the patenting of plants and animals, as well as elements isolated from the human body (cells, genetic sequences, etc). The Netherlands voted against it, while Italy and Belgium abstained. Although it is officially Community law, most EU countries have so far failed to implement it. Last year, France called for an interpretation of the directive from Brussels, while the German government vowed to seek its renegotiation.#