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Life Is Not a Patentable Invention

Life Is Not a Patentable Invention

Today is New Zealand’s chance to rule out the patenting of life with the Green Party’s amendment to the Patent Bill.

This Supplementary Order Paper clarifies that patents must not be held over life.

“The Patents Bill, coming before Parliament today, modernises the old 1953 Patents Act and rules out the granting of patents on humans, and methods of treatment or diagnosis which is a great step forward. It also rules out patents for computer programmes and plant varieties,” said Green Party genetic engineering spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“I have put forward an amendment to also rule out being able to patent life or certain elements of life, such as genes and proteins that exist in nature.

“Without this amendment we will be leaving the door open to continued risk of private profit making from our collectively owned genes and natural resources, the blocking of open research, and the process of stealing resources, including the intellectual property of Māori.

“Patenting life is not the way forward, and I have written to all MPs asking them to support my amendment.

“Ruling out the patenting of life will also rule out the use of genetic engineering to gain a patent on a life form.

“The Bill would be improved by extending these exemptions to include any forms of life – as they are not inventions that should be owned by any person or corporation.”


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