Conference: Patents on Life: Through the Lenses of Law, Religious Faith, and Social Justice


Patents on Life: Through the Lenses of Law, Religious Faith and Social Justice

4-5 September 2015, Hosted by the Von Hügel Institute, St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge

Sponsored by the Von Hügel Institute and the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota (USA)

Venue: Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, CB3 0DF

Conference theme: Patents are monopoly ownerships for commercial exploitation and can also apply to living matter, from genes to plants and seeds, microorganisms to animals.

  • Should control of living matter be in the hands of private corporations?
  • Are patents on seeds defensible in developing countries?
  • Should information on the human genome be privatised?
  • Who should decide when a patent should be forbidden on grounds of immorality?

This unique interdisciplinary conference will address these and other related ethical questions, and features top Vatican officials, academics, lawyers, industry professionals, theologians and representatives of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Speakers include:

  • H.E. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations in Geneva
  • The Hon Mr Justice Richard Arnold, Judge of the High Court of England and Wales
  • Mons. Osvaldo Neves de Almeida, Vatican Head of Intellectual Property
  • Stephen Colecchi, Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Dr Michael Kock, Head of Global IP, Syngenta
  • Prof David Albert Jones, Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford
  • …and many more (for the full list, see our website)

Who should attend? Lawyers and patent attorneys,* theologians, bioethicists, social and political scientists, environmentalists, life scientists and students of law, religion and social justice.

*This event is accredited with 11 hours CPD by the Law Society and the Bar Standards Board

Registration, Fees and Accommodation:

Standard fee: £250 (inc. refreshments, lunches and gala dinner) | student: £160 (gala dinner not included)

***Early bird rates (£30 saving) are available until 25 May 2015***

Overnight accommodation for those needing it is available on Thursday and Friday nights at Murray Edwards College.


The conference flyer may be downloaded here for distribution [PDF].



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(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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