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“Biotechnology and the Law,” a yearlong seminar taught by Professors Colin S. Diver and Edward L. Rubin, attempts to explain this field to law students. The course is described this way: “Dramatic progress in biotechnology, such as decoding genetic information and manipulating organic cells, has already produced many innovative applications. In the near future, this technology may give us the power to re-engineer life itself. The seminar explores the legal, public policy, and ethical issues raised by these developments.”
As a Visiting Professor last year, new permanent faculty member Arti K. Rai taught the introductory course “Intellectual Property in the New Technological Age.” She introduced the four major systems of intellectual property protection – trade secrets, patent, copyright, and trademark – and then applied the regimes to biotechnology and computer technology. She clarifies that trade secrets and patent law are the main regimes for biotechnology, where all four regimes apply to computer technology.
In a class that Rai says “included everyone from English majors right out of college to Ph.D. biochemists,” she found the students tended to divide into two groups: technophiles interested in science and technology, and those who weren’t.
She will teach a modified version of the same course this Fall tailored more specifically to technophiles, particularly in the areas of biotechnology and computer software. A second course, “Intellectual Property Rights and Biotechnology” will look at the law and business of biotechnology, with a focus on how patent and trade secrets laws have facilitated the development of the biotech and pharmaceuticals industry.
In addition, Rai will teach a seminar in “Science and the Public Domain” which will look at both biotech and computer technology, particularly computer software. It will examine the ways in which the public and private sectors interact in these areas.
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