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Title: Morality patently matters : the case for a universal suffrage for morally controversial biotechnological patents
Author: O'Sullivan, Maureen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 4013
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is a critique and proposed reform of the decision-making process under the European Patent Convention 1973, Article 53(a) as it relates to morality. It postulates that the manner in which the morality bar is currently managed is inappropriate as it relies on patent officials to make the initial decision as to whether the patent application is morally permissible or not. In a pluralistic world, morality is understood differently by a wide variety of people but this is not currently being acknowledged within the patent system. Whilst there is an option to bring opposition proceedings to challenge patent grants, this onus is considerable on the challenger and any debate is then played out by a very small sector of highly specialised experts, often with very differing views on morality. This thesis seeks to broaden the decision-making process to reflect society's pluralism. Officials, it will be argued, should instead of trying to decide what constitutes morality in a realm of such importance for humanity as a whole, administer a system which facilitates public participation and a vote. This will be based on existing models of widespread public deliberation and participation, albeit not ones that currently operate in (or near) the patent world. At present, criticisms in the legal literature tend to suggest more deliberation in the patent field and more participation is recommended in science literature but the logistics are unexplored and will be brought together in this work, making an original contribution to knowledge. In order to achieve its aim, the thesis employs a pluralistic methodology which includes doctrinal, socio-legal and interdisciplinary facets which will enable the construction of a model for reform of the patent system in the domain of morality. This will come from outside of traditional legal mechanisms such as legislative, judicial or patent office reform solutions, as a far-reaching paradigm is envisaged. The claim to originality lies in the extraction of principles from deliberative and participatory models of democracy and their application to the decision-making process in morally controversial biotechnological patents.
Supervisor: Laurie, Graeme ; Porter, Gerard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: biotechnological patents ; morality ; participatory democracy ; deliberation ; public education