Wednesday, August 03, 2005

BELLYACHING ISN'T JUST FOR SOFTWARE PATENTS: While not exactly a surprise (and 25 years after the Supreme Court's Chakrabarty decision), Greenpeace has started a campaign against biotech giant Monsanto for its patent application on genetically modified pigs (WO 2005/017204 and WO 2005/015989). While this blog doesn't usually deal with biochemistry and such, I found it striking how similar the hostility and aggression directed at Monsanto was to the scorn directed at large software companies (I won't mention names) for being interested in obtaining patents in the first place:

Eric Gall of Greenpeace International said: "Monsanto is once again trying to control the food we grow. This is patenting life. This is abuse of patent laws and it is an outright offence to farmers world-wide."

"If this patent gets granted, Monsanto could control the normal breeding of pigs to a large extent, without any real invention behind it. The experience farmers have with this company so far let them expect a further shocking exercise of squeezing royalties and suing farmers on global scale," warned Gall. "This patent application is so absurd we wonder what Monsanto will come up with next?"

Sound familiar? The only caveat here is that, unlike software, the biochem gripes don't typically end with " . . . and that's why we need to get rid of biotech patents."

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