The Biotechnology directive prohibited the patenting of plant and animal varieties as well as the biological processes which produced them. It also prohibited the patenting of the human body at any stage or form of development, as well as any invention which when commercially utilized would be morally ambiguous. However, it does allow the patenting of an isolated element from the aforementioned plant, animal or human, as long as it has a suitable application in the industry. However, this application must benefit any plant or animal or human within the species rather than an individual sample within it (Bartels, 2007).
However, even the establishment of such legal precedents have avoided various legal disputes which have occurred involving biotech companies over the years. One of the largest disputes settled involving patent infringement within this industry occurred between the University of California, San Francisco and Genentech, one of the top biotech companies in the United States. In 1990, the University of California sued Genentech for 400 million dollars. They claimed that Genentech stole the drug Protorpin which was developed at their university and marketed it as a drug to treat dwarfism. The dispute lasted for 9 years before Genentech agreed to pay UCSF $200 million in compensation.
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