What, if Any, Are the Ethical Obligations of the U.S. Patent Office? A Closer Look at the Biological Sampling of Indigenous Groups

By: Marina L. Whelan

The patenting of biological resources collected from indigenous groups has become a controversial trend. Two U.S. patents in particular, one claiming a cell-line from a 26-year old Guayami woman and one claiming a leukemia virus from a Hagahai man in Papua New Guinea, demonstrate just how volatile this issue has become. This iBrief examines how, in light of such “ethically questionable” patents, the U.S. Patent Office has failed to implement any procedures to identify or curb patent applications involving indigenous peoples.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0014

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