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Conference Programme

Patents on Life: Through the Lenses of Law, Religious Faith and Social Justice – 'defining the boundaries'

4-5 September 2015


Day one – Friday 4th September

8:15-9:00 – Arrival and registration, Buckingham House, Murray Edwards College

9:00-9:15 // 1.1 Welcome and introduction

  • The Hon. Matthew Bullock, Master of St Edmund’s College
  • Professor John Loughlin, Director of the Von Hügel Institute
  • Professor Elizabeth Schiltz, Co-Director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy
  • Dr Roman Cholij, Von Hügel Institute Research Associate, Head of Religion and Law

9:15-10:40 // 1.2 Religious perspectives on Intellectual Property

  • Chair: The Rt Rev John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, Department of Christian Responsibility, The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales' 

The contribution of the Holy See to the Intellectual Property debate at the multilateral level – H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio: Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN Office in Geneva & WTO

IP Rights and the Fundamental Right to the Commons in the Light of Catholic Social Teaching – Mons. Osvaldo Neves de Almeida, Holy See Secretariat of State, with responsibility for TRIPs (WTO), UNCTAD and formerly for WIPO

Patents, Life and Social Justice: Musings of a Mosaic Maven – Dr Michael Factor, leading Israeli Patent attorney and IP blogger

Discussion and Q&A

10:40-11:10 – Refreshments

11:10-12:35 // 1.3 Intellectual Property exclusions – who decides and how?

  • Chair: Dr Roman Cholij, Von Hügel Institute Research Associate, Head of Religion and Law

Trade marks which are contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality – The Hon. Mr Justice Richard Arnold, Judge of the High Court of England and Wales

Immorality and patents: the exclusion of inventions contrary to ordre public and morality – Dr Kathleen Liddell, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge and Director, Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences

Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Origins of the Exclusions from Patents for Science, Nature, and Abstract Ideas, How They Should Be Applied, and Why It Matters – Professor Joshua D. Sarnoff, Professor of Law, DePaul University

Discussion and Q&A

12:35-13:35 – Buffet lunch

13:35-15:00 // 1.4 Patents on Life: The Roles of Ethics, Commerce, and Religion

  • Chair: Professor Tom Berg, James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of St Thomas, Minnesota

Patents for life: Towards an ethical use of patents on plant innovations – Dr Michael Kock, Global Head of IP, Syngenta

'Thou Shalt Not Steal': Morality and Misappropriation in Life Sciences Patenting – Professor Margo A. BagleyHardy Cross Dillard Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

One Nation Under Pfizer (or maybe Monsanto) – Professor Paul Heald, Richard W. and Marie L. Corman Professor of Law, University of Illinois

Discussion and Q&A

15:00-15:30 – Refreshments

15:30-17:00 // 1.5 IP, Genetic Resources, Social Justice, and Development

  • Chair: Claire Foster-Gilbert, Director of the Westminster Abbey Institute

Am I my brother’s keeper? Stewardship and the emerging international framework for the protection of genetic resources and Traditional Knowledge – Professor Ruth Okediji, William L. Prosser Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School

Intellectual Property, Indigenous Customary Law, and the Benefit-Sharing Debate: Can it ever be resolved? – Professor Graham Dutfield, Professor of International Governance, University of Leeds School of Law, Member of the International Scholars Networks of Intellectual Property in the Biosciences

Intellectual Property Rights and Global Policy Challenges: energizing the multilateral system – Dr Carlo Marenghi, IP & Trade Attaché: Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the UN Office in Geneva & WTO

Discussion and Q&A

17:00-19:30 – Free time

19:30-20:00 – Pre-dinner drinks, Garden Room, St. Edmund's College

20:00-22:00 – Gala dinner, Main Hall, St. Edmund's College

Day Two – Saturday 5th September

9:10-9:15 // 2.1 Introduction

  • Introduction to the day

9:15-10:40 // 2.2 Patents and life forms

  • Chair: Professor Simon Lee, Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge and executive director of the Cambridge Theological Federation

Patenting on life forms/judgments of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office  Christopher Rennie-Smith, Former Chair of the Biotech Board of Appeal and former Member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office

Legal and ethical aspects of the patenting of human body materials – Dr Julian Cockbain, European Patent Lawyer, author, consultant and bioethics expert

Patents and the moral limits of markets: The case of germ line interventions – Dr Katerina Sideri, Intellectual Property advisor, Agricultural University of Athens; and Member of the International Scholars Network of Intellectual Property in the Biosciences

Discussion and Q&A

10:40-11:10 – Refreshments

11:10-12:35 // 2.3 Patents, human rights and politics

  • Chair: Professor Elizabeth Schiltz, Professor of Law, Thomas J. Abood Research Scholar and Co-Director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota

Patent governance, ethics, and democracy  Professor Ingrid Schneider, Department of Political Sciences, University of Hamburg, Research Centre for Biotechnology, Society and the Environment

Human Rights and Life Patents: Lessons from the Church's Social Teaching and Engagement – Dr Stephen Colecchi, Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Patents on Embryonic Stem Cells: On Moral Intrigue at the European Patent Office  Dr Justin Turner QC, Barrister at Three New Square chambers, Lincoln’s Inn; Director of UKAD

Discussion and Q&A

12:35-13:35 – Buffet lunch

13:35-15:00 // 2.4 Ethics and human genome patenting 

  • Chair: Professor Robert K. Vischer, Dean and Mengler Chair in Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota.

Public trust doctrine applied to gene patents  Professor Brian Scarnecchia, Ave Maria School of Law, Franciscan University of Steubenville

The theological case against privatising the human genome – Professor David Albert Jones, Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford

Human genome and copyright: an ethical alternative to patents?  Mark Engelman, Barrister and Head of IP at Hardwicke Chambers, Lincoln's Inn; Master of the Bench, Gray’s Inn; Von Hügel Institute Research Associate

Discussion and Q&A

15:00-15:15 – Refreshments

15.15-16.45 // 2.5 Roundtable: The future of life form patenting

  • Chair: Dr Calum MacKellar, Director of Research at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics


Professor Geoff Hunt, Director, Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies, St Mary’s University, Twickenham (reflecting on the ethics of nano bio-medicine patenting)

Martin Gouldstone, Head of Lifesciences Advisory, BDO (reflecting on industry concerns over gene patenting)

Dr Thana Campos, Von Hügel Institute Research Associate (speaking on ‘the idea of patents vs. the idea of the university’) 

Concluding with a panel discussion (contributions from delegates welcomed)

16:45-17:00 // 2.6  Concluding remarks and close

  • Reflections from The Rt Rev. John Sherrington and Professor Tom Berg
  • Thanks – representatives of Von Hügel Institute and Murphy Institute

17:00-18:00 – Wine reception


This programme is correct at time of publication; however, the conference organisers reserve the right to make alterations as deemed necessary.

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