Property in Human Tissue and the Right of Commercialisation: The Interface Between Tangible and Intellectual Property
journal contributionposted on 29.10.2019 by Dianne Nicol
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
This article considers the legal consequences of recognising property rights in human tissue in relation to the specific issue of control of the commercialisation of the results of research using that tissue. Ethical guidelines and privacy laws do not deal directly with this issue. Legal recognition of a tissue source's ownership of their tissue might enable actions to be brought for breach of bailment and conversion. However, this article concludes that even if these actions could be sustained, they may not provide adequate remedies to a source who objects to the commercialisation process or wants to take a share of the profits of commercialisation. Moreover, legal recognition of a source's intangible right of commercialisation may not assist if it conflicts with patent rights held by others. Other options are considered, including the imposition of a requirement in patent law to verih consent to patenting and the establishment of structures to facilitate benefit sharing