Case Studies: Law

Each of the three parts of Biofutures -- Law, Biology, Culture -- contains two chapters. Each of these chapters is focused on a "case study." By focusing on specific case studies, we can show the concrete events, institutions, or processes through which more abstract trends or themes in biocommerce first come into existence.

The first case study in the Law section -- "John Moore's Spleen: Innovation and Individual Rights" -- focuses on a court case in which a former patient charged his physician with having stolen, and patented, his tissue. This case study highlights assumptions about property, information, and genetic material that dominate contemporary systems of intellectual property.

The second case study -- "PXE International: Community and Intellectual Property" -- examines innovative uses of intellectual property by focusing on the case of PXE International, a patient-advocacy group that has patented the gene that codes for a rare disease.