Apropos of Mark’s excellent post below, our friend Tom Berg has the details here of a very interesting conference at Cambridge University this fall concerning patent law and religion. Looks fascinating. I’ve reproduced the conference description below.
With the explosion of genetic technology and the drive to access and make use of genetic resources, the issues surrounding the patenting of living things and living material–human, animal, and plant–have become tremendously complex and important. What is the line between patentable scientific creations and unpatentable features of nature? What effects do patents on human genes, or on genetically modified crops, have on people in poverty or in developing countries? What is a fair allocation of indigenous genetic resources among traditional peoples and multinational corporations? What role should moral objections to particular technologies play in determining whether they can be patented? And what do religious insights have to offer on these legal, moral, and social questions?