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Sample Case Study on Diamond v. Chakrabarty Patent Infringement

Diamond v. Chakrabarty Patent Infringement

Diamond v. Chakrabarty patent infringement case was heard in the United Sates Supreme Court in 1980. The case entailed the patentability of genetically modified organisms. Genetic engineer known as Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty developed a bacterium called Pseudomona putida while working with General Electric. The bacterium can break down crude oil which made it suitable for treating future oil spills.

Chakrabarty was listed as the investor of the bacterium by the General Electric when the company applied for patent. However, patent examiner rejected the application on the basis that patent law of that time considered living things as not being patentable subject matters. The examiner quoted Section 101 of the Title 35 U.S.C.

Although the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences upheld the initial decision, the United States Court of Proofreading-EditingCustoms and patent did not. It overturned this case in favor of Chakrabarty noting that for the purposes of patent law, the fact that all micro-organisms are living things does not have legal significance. Sidney A. Diamond who was the Patents and Trademarks’ commissioner made an appeal to Supreme Court. This case was deliberated on 17th March 1980. A decision was made on 16th June 1980 and on 31st March 1981, USPTO granted patent.

In the decision that was made in Chakrabarty’s favor, the court noted that a live micro-organism made by human under Title 35 U.S.C, 101. The micro-organism of the respondent constituted of a composition of matter or manufacture within the statute. The decision was written by Warren E. Burger, the Chief Justice. Others who joined him were Potter Stewart, William Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens and Harry Blackmun.

According to Burger, the case presented to the court was narrow according to the interpretation of Title 35 U.S.C, 101. The title allows individuals or entities who discovers or invents useful and new processes, machines, matter’s composition or manufacture whether new or improvement to obtain patent for them under the conditions stipulated by the title.

The judges cautioned the court against reading conditions and limitations in the patent laws which had not been expressed by the legislature. The court observed that when congress chose expansive terms such as composition of 4matter and manufacture and later modified to any, was a plain contemplation of the wide scope of the patent laws. The court concluded that congress intended to include anything under the sun that is man made in the list of patentable subject matter.

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