File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

The Story of Chakrabarty's Oil-Eating Bacteria: Diamond v/s Chakrabarty

The United State Code deals with general as well as permanent legal matters.The codification divides the main concerning subjects into 53 titles. Among which, title 35 of U.S Code covers the subject matter regarding the Patent Law, section 101 of which as stated "Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process,machine,manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new or useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent thereof,subject to the conditions and requirement of this title".

Dr. Anand Mohan Chakrabarty, the hereditary engineer of the General Electric, cultivated a micro-organism which possessed the remarkable quality of simplifying the complex matter of crude oil. The applicant's request for the patent of bacterium is rejected on the grounds that the terms, "manufacture" and "composition of matter" as mentioned in the statement above, excludes the living subject matter.

The undertaken case, Diamond v. Chakrabarty challenges the wide scope of section, as the discovery of genetically engineered bacterium is analyzed as the composition of matter and the wide scope of patentable is looked into as the technological aspects of genetic engineering was not foreseen when the enactment of title 35 section 101 of U.S.C had taken place.

Statement of the fact
Working under the General Electric Co, microbiologist Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty, after constant initiative, succeeded in task of engineering genes of a particular bacterium of Pseudomonas genus. This strain of bacteria is naturally occurring in environment and has the ability which helps in decomposition of individual component of crude oil, but it had the demerit of not coexisting and only minute portion of the bacteria could overcome the discrepancy and attack in cumulative manner resulting in degradation into simpler substance through consumption.

Dr.Chakrabarty, then with the intention of culturing specific kind of bacteria which was to be purposefully used for the oil spill's controlling took entirely separate bacteria groups and incorporated the primary genetic portion of each respective groups into the Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, a naturally occurring bacteria.

The genetic employment process led to the invention of different previously non-existent version of Pseudomonas which possessed the ability to break down the complex oil matter systematically at fast rate. Dr.Chakrabarty filed an application for the patent of the newly cultivated bacteria, through the General Electrics, which faced the rejection on the grounds that the living things being the product of the nature, could not be included in patentable subject matter.

The affirmations made by Dr.Chakrabarty in the applications were under three kinds, first one being the claim on complex process, conducted for the cultivation of Pseudomonas for bio-remediation, second claim for a substance used in inoculations and the newly generated bacteria and lastly the claim on the Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, the bacteria itself. The reasoning presented by the Patent Inspector as well as Board of Patent Appeals and Interference, which affirmed with the statement that according to 35

Title section 101 of USC, living micro-organism are not patentable subject matter,denying the application was then challenged by the Plaintiff, Dr.Anand Mohan Chakrabarty and General Electrics in the Supreme Court of US. The court ruled out in the favour of Plaintiff, repudiating the Board's analysis and proclaiming that living status of micro-organisms is legally irrelevant in the matter pertaining to the patent law.

Issues Framed:
  1. Can the Pseudomonas Purida, the laboratory engineered micro-organism be included as component of "manufacture" or "composition of matter" within the meaning of the section 101 of US code,
  2. Does the plaintiff's genetically engineered Pseudomonas putidais qualifies as a patentable matter.

Legal Provision Of Issues
The immediate issue presented and the reliability upon the court in assessing if the living- microorganism, as constituted in the scenario of Chakrabarty could be given the status of "composition of matter" or be included in the term "manufacture". The wide scope of the term, as stated in the Code of United Stated under Title 35, section 101 particularly when referred with the term "any" are clearly directed at the intention to include the various possibility of what could be there in law of patent.

Deriving from the case of American Fruit Growers, Inc. v. Brodgex Co, which held that the term " Composition of matter" allows the inventor to include various type of composition combined together as novel and inventive step. Therefore, safely determining that the term "Manufacture" is implied when through the methodological step, the core of raw or non-raw materials is fundamentally changed and the result of process, irrespective of the mode being human labour or the technology is being changed forms, new inherent qualities.

The claims made more clear through the contrast which were reflected in case of Funk Brothers Seed Co. v. Kalo Inoculant Co, in which the court held that the respondent only managed to bring into the awareness, the already and naturally existing quality of bacteria, which did not, in any way brought change in the performance of the bacteria, hence it most definitely did not fulfil the criteria needed in order to be novel or useful.

The petitioner's first argument has been derived from the enactment of the 1930 Plant Patent Act,which only allowed patent protection to specifically selected plants which are asexual in mode of reproduction .the legal allowance for patent protection for selected sexually reproduced is granted through the 1970 Plant Variety Protection Act, which critically excludes microorganisms from it's protection

Respondents claims reflected the opinion that as stated in section 101, terms manufacture or composition of matter, in not way includes living beings and if the intention of draftsmen were otherwise, then Act would have not been in existence.

The plaintiff's team dismissed the argument, clarifying that the distinction was not made between living matter and a non living matter I the Plant Patent Act, but between the categories of subject, that is whether it's human made or it's exists in nature without help of human interventions.

Another argument presented revolved around the official authorization by Congress regarding the issue, that is, it is to be deemed right only if the Congress formally and publicly addresses the subject matter which is to be covered within the meaning of 'manufacture" and "composition of matter" and hence, the protection is made accessible to the same.

The point is made on the valid assumption that at the time of drafting of the Act, the immense potential of genetic technology had not been discovered, neither could it be foreseen and hence, these possibilities were not considered when enactment of Act had taken place.

Relevant Cases Cited
In re Bergy:
According to the decision which was given in the case- In Re Bergy, the subject matter submitted for the patent protection did not have any inventive characteristic infused in it, but rather the process only led to slight change and it's mere discovery. For any individual to be given the right to patent protection, his inventions has to be novel and this factor was lacking in In re Bergy case. However, in Chakrabarty's case, the bacteria invented had the quality which was novel in the field of biotechnology.

Funk Brothers Seed Co. v. Kalo Inoculant Co:
The Respondent merely discovered a pre- existing property of the bacteria, which did not under any circumstance make the microorganism perform differently.It was only a discovery of laws of nature. The discovery did not qualify as subject applicable for patent right. The

Respondent's combination of the bacteria was new and useful but lacked the requirements of invention or discovery.

American Fruit Growers, Inc. v. Brodgex Co:
The outcome of this case was that the terms, "manufacture" and "composition of matter" as mentioned in code of US, section 101, is used comprehensively with the word "any", which provides wide scope for the patent protection for things emerging in industrial and digital universe. Therefore, providing that living status of any bacteria does not have any legal significance attached to it, the bacteria becomes eligible, to be patented if required.

Judgement of the Court
The arguments as presented by the defendant claiming that the scope to include living things is strictly not provided in section 101, which also includes laboratory produced bacteria is rejected by the court. The Supreme Court concluded that the criteria to be regarded as a "manufactured" matter or to constitute as "composition of matter" is definitely and distinctively met by the Dr.Chakrabarty 's lab generated bacteria, as implied in the section 101 of code of United State, giving the micro-organism the status of patentable subject.

The court observed that the bacterium cultivated by the plaintiff, shows entirely new ability of a micro-organism which does not exist in nature, that is the refining the crude oil with efficiency and at fast speed, hence proving it's significance in utility and it's novelty.

The Patent Act, 1952 provides space to include an alive and produced through human labour as well as intellect, micro-organism within the definition of "manufacture" and "composition of matter".

The bar to patent ability is to be sought regardless of living status of any micro-organism.

Analysis of the Judgement
The court reached on it's decision through critical analysis of the facts of the case, the obvious expression portrayed in section 101, interpretation and application of prior legislative cases as well as the constitutional provisions for the patent law. Markedly, the Plaintiff's genetic research on Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is result of dexterity of a human mind, as to be able to produce a bacteria with qualities which does not already non-naturally occur in the nature, that is to break down crude oil's different components.

The idea whether the meaning and scope of a subject or a patentable matter, as mentioned in section 101 of US code, could be put under a strict limitation is largely silent in the terms in legislative history, however if narrowly traced back, then the history seems to be agreeing with the judgement of the court as declared in case of Dr. Chakrabarty.

The idea behind Congress's attempt to include anything, which a human being or a layman is capable of creating or giving birth to under the statutory subject matter is clearly highlighted in the reports published by the assigned committee in assessment of Patent Law Re-codification,1952.

Clear indication has been given by to the principal draftsman appointed for the 1952 Re-codification Act, regarding the same through his testimony. The decision of court also is in terms with the prevalent notion of the patent law. The motive is to create a space for the upcoming generations to take step towards the progression of Science along with enhancement of arts capable of birthing through human intellect.

Constitutional objective is to grant exclusive rights to applicants for their labour and ingenuity and to allow the citizens to witness the same. It is only correct to associate the natural and simple meaning to the words, the little uncertainty with regards to laboratory created micro-organism through the biological process of recombining done at the cellular level is to to be referred as a manufacturing component and safely regarded withing the meaning of composition of matter.

The outcome of Chakrabarty case bring in the opportunity to public to tap into the potential of offering innumerable benefits to the mankind. The Court of Customs and Patent Appeal then complied according to the declarative released by the court, specifying that there is no legal aspects attached to the fact whether a microorganism is living or not and the permission to patent be given to Dr. Chakrabarty for the bacteria, Pseudomonas Putida. In the field of bio-technology and in areas concerning patent laws, Diamond v. Chakrabarty eminently contributed in innovative advancement as a landmark judgment.

Chakrabarty gained worldwide recognition because of his contribution in biotechnology and the genetically engineered oil eating bacteria came to be known as "superbug" The human beings coming from different areas of life harboring original and inventive ideas gets the privilege of easy access to licenses for the patent of microorganism or plants when put through fundamental change at biological level ,induced externally.

Also Read:

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly