April 1, 2010 by Tamsin Thomas
Tamsin Thomas is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and is taking the Patent Law class.
At the beginning of March 2010, Greenpeace Germany and others unsuccessfully challenged a patent on a method of increasing milk supply in cattle. Cattle can be made to produce larger amounts of milk when they are genetically modified to express a particular gene sequence (European Patent EP 1330552 granted in January 2007).(1) Greenpeace Germany and others argued that the patent should be revoked on the basis that the invention causes excessive suffering of the genetically altered animals without any substantial benefit to man and beast. Accordingly it would be in contradiction to the European Patent Convention requirement that where the commercial exploitation of the invention would be contrary to public order or morality, the invention is not patentable.