Twenty-five years ago, federal courts opened the door to the biotechnology revolution by granting patents on genetic inventions. Since that time, decisions across five disparate doctrines reflect confusion over the question of whether the definition of a biotechnology invention should include things beyond the state of the art at the time of the invention. Reaching beyond the state of the art may make sense for mechanical inventions, but it is wreaking havoc in doctrines related to biotechnology.
This Article argues that in uncertain arts such as biotechnology, the definition of an invention should be limited to the state of the art at the time of the invention. Granting rights beyond knowledge at the time of the invention projects an enormous shadow across the future and creates untenable results. The temptation to restrain that reach has led to strange doctrinal twists and an unworkable body of law. After twenty-five years of experience, it is time to rethink our view of the proper shape of rights in this realm.
The powerful morbidity and mortality effects of diet combined with growing concern about the obesity “epidemic” have led public health scholars and public interest advocates to call for taxes on food. 3 The proposals fall into two different categories. First, there are “junk food taxes” on less nutritious foods such as soft drinks, candy, or snack foods. Second, there are more ambitious taxes that would apply to a much broader range of foods and food components.
Stem cells present an intriguing dilemma. They tantalize with their boundless medical potential, but challenge with equally limitless questions about their ethical consequences. If not for this ethical challenge, the question of federal funding for stem cells would be simple: How much funding and to whom? Instead, ethical objections, closely related to other highly controversial political issues, sweep stem cell policy into a political vortex. In recent years, this storm has reduced science’s role in the equation – transforming the issue from a tangible question of science and technology into an abstract debate setting ethical catastrophes against as yet undiscovered miracle cures. Given the political firestorm, government actors have treaded carefully, implementing halfway measures and justifying them by obscuring portions of the real debate from the public. The resultant policy, culminating in President George W. Bush’s August 2001 limitation on federal funding to existing stem cell lines, is driven by a blend of outdated legislation and imperfect institutional arrangements – a combination that, admittedly, handicaps the nation’s ability to explore the potential benefits of human embryonic stem cells (“hES”). More importantly, the policy fails to address the fundamental problem that purportedly justifies its existence: the ability to control the issue’s controversial ethical dilemmas.
Subrogation has been called a “sleepy, although significant subject,” and perhaps consequently, many articles treating the topic begin with a prefatory example (either real or abstract) of the potential entanglements it can create. In line with this established tradition, this Note begins with two such examples.
Roy Block was injured in an automobile accident caused by another person. Like roughly 23 million other people in California, Block belonged to a managed care organization (“MCO”). His MCO agreed to pay for the treatment of his injuries on the condition that he agree to reimburse it from any eventual tort recovery. This might seem fair since Block might otherwise recover twice for his injuries; first when the MCO paid for his treatment and then again when he recovered from the tortfeasors. Yet, what if Block was not able to recover for all of his injuries, economic or otherwise? For example, what if he suffered a total of $10,000 in damages, half of which was for medical expenses, but was forced to settle for $7,000? Should his MCO still be allowed to recover its full $5,000 claim first, even if this leaves him uncompensated for $3,000 in pain and suffering and lost wages? How should a court interpret MCO contracts that provide for this very contingency? This is one of the problems discussed in this Note.
This bibliography serves as the 1999–2001 update to Gerontology and the Law: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. The Gerontology and the Law Bibliography was first published in the Law Library Journal in 1980. Subsequently, six updates to the bibliography were published in the Southern California Law Review between the years 1982 and 1999. The original bibliography and the five subsequent updates provided citations of books, reports, and articles focusing on law-related topics concerning gerontology, the elderly, and aging. Following the format of the sixth update, this seventh update is more specific than its early predecessors in terms of its coverage of topics and types of materials. Like the sixth update, this annotated bibliography provides descriptive annotations that summarize the topics and/or major points discussed in the cited books or articles.