Abstract

There is a widespread fear that patenting organisms will lead to lifeís reification and alter manís view not only upon animated nature but also upon man himself. This article is not opposed to patenting organisms in general. It is based on the assumption that non-conscious organisms cannot be considered alive. Lifeís distinctive feature is consciousness. Non-conscious organisms can be considered as compositions of matter, while conscious organisms cannot. According to patent law only compositions of matter are patentable. Therefore, only non-conscious organisms should be regarded as patentable in principle. However, only technical procedures should be regarded as patentable and only those organisms upon which patented procedures have been applied directly. Modified organismsí offspring should not be regarded as patentable since patented technical procedures have not been applied to the offspring.