January 27, 2010 by Jasdeep Bal
Jasdeep Singh Bal is a J.D. candidate (2011) at Osgoode Hall and is taking the Patent Law course.
There is a disconnect between patent laws, which are reflective of Western Industrial and commercial theories, and Eastern philosophies. According to Scheper-Hughes and Lock, there are essentially three different ways in which a body is viewed, two of which are important to this discussion: The first is the highly individualized body, and the second is the body within society. Speaking of the first, Scheper-Hughes and Lock attribute Cartesian dualism—the idea that the mind and body are distinctively separated—to the “mechanistic conception” of the body that allowed biology to pursue a radically materialistic progression, whereby the importance of mind, or the individual’s place within society, is trivialized. It is out of this understanding, I argue, that Western conceptions of patent laws have taken hold, making it problematic for Eastern societies that place an emphasis on a less individualistic and mechanistic view of the body.