The Moral Clause in Patent Law and Threats Posed by Human Germl ine Genome Editing

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Gabriel Zanatta Tocchetto


This article examines whether the lack of closure of moral clauses in patent laws, particularly in dealing with the issue of human germline genome editing, causes such clauses to fail to function as a moratorium in countries like Mexico. The hypothesis posed here is that a general, open, moral clause in intellectual property legislation, specifically in patent law, is ineffective when confronted with a foreseeable but strong innovation that alters an area of applied biology such as human germline genome editing. Using the deductive method, this research aims to determine whether countries like Mexico need to provide more specific guidance in their legislation on technological innovations like human germline modification in order to foster an atmosphere of legal certainty. A comparative analysis of the closed morals clause in the European Patent Convention and the open morals clause in Mexico’s intellectual property law confirms this hypothesis. Specifically, the lack of closure of a morals clause in patent law, when confronted with novel and complex technological advances, will likely fail to function as a moratorium.

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