Runaway Utility

  • Joseph R. Carvalko Jr.


This chapter drills down on where ethics and patents intersect. Technologies have utility in virtue of their physical form or attributes. It assumes its social position depending upon the interpretation we assign to its function. In this context, the word “utility” is a general word that relates to form and further links how well something meets its intended function or virtue, and as such if the invention meets the subject matter test, it may be allowed patent protection. We discuss arguments as to why this test is insufficient as a measure of patentability, given the present state of germline editing.

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph R. Carvalko Jr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Center for BioethicsYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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