Intellectual Property, Islamic Values, and the Patenting of Genes

El Said, Mohammed orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9409-1481 (2019) Intellectual Property, Islamic Values, and the Patenting of Genes. In: Patents on Life Religious, Moral, and Social Justice Aspects of Biotechnology and Intellectual Property. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781108428682

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The past few decades witnessed unprecedented levels of technological progress in many areas, leading some to refer to this as the ‘age of technology’. One particular area where such noticeable developments have occurred is medical technologies and innovations. New medical technologies, gene therapy, and personalized medical treatments that were once viewed as futuristic in nature are a reality today.
Concurrently, such developments also raise dilemmas for many due to their extraterritorial nature and cross-border impact and their interaction with established universal human rights principles such as the rights to life, health, and access to
Such developments have been praised by many because of their impact in preserving good health, curing diseases, and prolonging life expectancy levels. At the centre of these developments emerges the debate about interplay between the
process of learning, scientific progress, and knowledge creation. At the heart of the debate arises the question: what are the values and principles that should drive such developments? Should the developments be triggered by purely capitalist, social, and economic factors? Or do theological values also have a role in influencing and shaping the developments? More specifically, who owns the knowledge leading to the creation of these innovations?
This chapter will examine the above questions in more detail. In addition, the chapter will analyse to what extent such developments and their utilization are compatible with social, theological, and local beliefs. More specifically, the chapter
will present Islam’s stance on a number of contemporary issues including the protection of intellectual property (IP) and the issue of gene patenting in light with established Islamic bioethics and principles. It will conclude by highlighting the urgent need for Muslim states to take a proactive role to address these issues through legislation and public instruction.

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