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Our bodies patently lack protection
The marriage of intellectual property (IP) and life sciences creates one of those niche practices of law that most solicitors like to avoid. But two events recently brought home the importance of this area of law.
First, the recommendation by the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to permit human cloning for 'spare parts' is likely to create a huge wave of research leading to a flood of patent registrations and subsequent litigation. Penny Gilbert, of the IP firm Bristows, says that though the European Commission Biotechnology Directive specifically excludes human cloning processes from patentability, it does not apply to such parts of the human body as tissue. There are', she says, 'potentially valuable patents in this field and litigation between rival researchers is almost inevitable.'
Elsewhere in the market, the pharmaceutical companies Zeneca and Astra were deep in talks about so a merger. Both face the imminent end of the patent on several drugs, and need more resources to plug the gaps. Patents are probably these companies' most important single resource and the big pharmaceutical companies and life sciences firms jealously guard them. Larger law firms such as Cameron McKenna and Herbert Smith are often engaged in litigation to protect rights that may have been infringed.
Smaller research-based companies are not always so alert to the dangers and opportunities of patent law. A recent report, commissioned by Taylor Joynsen Garrett from the London Business School, says: 'There is evidence of a surprising lack of recognition of the importance of IP protection.' Almost a third of companies think their investors 'understand little' or 'not at all' the nature of their IP rights. Only two-thirds of companies said that when it came to IP, due diligence1 had been undertaken by their investors where it was relevant before financing their most recent investment.
Just over half the smaller companies have a programme in place to ensure that all IP rights produced by their research development are adequately protected. And many that have an IP protection programme do not produce a complete set of contractual documentation to cover dealings in IP rights, even though this is potentially the most critical component of all.
The report is a wake-up call to smaller research-based companies to take the legal implications of their work seriously. While there are bound to be ethical debates about the right to make money out of this kind of activity, there is no question that larger companies will have little hesitation in capitalising on discoveries not properly protected. Ms Gilbert believes that we are only starting to scratch the surface of developments in this field. How it turns out will be shaped as much by the application of the law as by the inventiveness of scientists. And though the Biotechnology Directive excludes human cloning processes from patentability, commercial companies will not stop doing the work, nor stop generating complex and puzzling legal issues.
1 the opposite of negligence; used by auditors and lawyers to show they have checked very carefully all the available documents in order to determine if a fact or figure is correct, or who is the current and legal owner of land, property or ideas
Discuss these questions.
1. What is a patent?
2. Are there laws in your country forbidding the cloning - making exact genetic copies - of humans?
3. Can you see any dangers in the 'ownership' of scientific knowledge? If a new medical breakthrough is made by a scientific team, should they be able to keep it to themselves until the price is right and profit from it?
AUnderstanding main points
Mark these statements Т (true) or F (false) according to the information in the text on the opposite page. Find the part of the text that gives the correct information.
В Understanding details
Answer these questions.
Match these terms with their definitions.
1. proper safeguarding
2. niche practices
3. patent registration
7. due diligence
8. contractual documentation
10. scratch the surface
a) complete set of details about IP rights dealings
b) break a law or regulation
c) adequate protection
d) begin to understand something
e) taking advantage of a commercial opportunity
f) application for the sole rights of ownership
g) allowing an invention to be registered
h) bringing a lawsuit against someone
i) thorough investigation
j) specialised areas of expertise
Use an appropriate phrase from the box to complete each sentence.
wave of research flood of patent registrations stop the leak plug the gap scratch the surface gone up in smoke avalanche of complaints landmark case cast a shadow over dawned on
l Permission from the European Courts to allow cloning will bring a ... .which will lead to a . This problem is bigger than you think. We have only just begun to ................................
2 Our rivals have copied our work. All our hopes have ................................
3 The drug caused severe headaches and vomiting. There was an ............................... from
doctors and patients.
5 The judges' decision was so important that it changed the way the law was to be interpreted. It was a
6 Information about the new drug was given to the press by a laboratory technician. The manager
7 The tragic accident ............................... an otherwise happy event.
8 The major drugs companies need a way to replace the money they earn from patents that are
9 The law about intellectual property is very complex but essential to the success of the company. It
Match these terms with their definitions.
f) skin and flesh
g) leaves out
h) people risking money
DMetaphors from water
English uses a lot of metaphors from water to describe the scale of events, like a flood of complaints and a huge wave of research. Complete these sentences with words from the box.
drop flood trickle stream torrents cascade
E Metaphors from the body
Match the parts of the body with the correct phrase.
1 head a) of the law
2 long arm b) for fighting
3 hand c) of the company
4 heart d) of Fate
5 no stomach e) of the matter
Задание №3: Выполните следующие грамматические задания.
1. Перепишите предложения, используя Present Perfect или Past Indefinite в зависимости от обстоятельства, данного в скобках.
a) She does not buydictionaries, (yet)
b) We were doing many exercises. (yesterday)
c) I am reading this book now. (already)
d) I will talk to her on Friday. (since Friday)
e) She speaks with me on the phone every week. (last week )
f) It doesn't often rain in summer. ( of late )
2. Вставьте глагол, данный в скобках, в Present, Past или Future Perfect.
a) Не (tell) this joke many times already.
b) Before they leave England they (make) some urgent arrangements.
c) Hardly we (pack) our things when it was time to go to the station.
d) My watch doesn't work. Something (go) wrong with it.
e) I couldn't get into my flat because I (lose) my key.
f) I am sure that by the next century we (find) a way to feed all the people in the world.
3. Переведите на английский язык.
a) Вы когда-нибудь видели восход солнца в горах?
b) Когда они вернулись из театра, служанка уже ушла домой.
c) Не успело зайти солнце, как пошел дождь.
d) Туристы осмотрели многие достопримечательности нашего
e) Она уже 10 лет замужем.
f) Строители закончат возведение этого здания к следующему году.
4. Вставьте some, any, no или их производные.
a) Yesterday I went..., I stayed at home the whole day.
b) I didn't take money with me, so I couldn't buy ....
c) There are ... boys in the yard now because they are at school.
d) That is a very easy question: ... can answer it.
e) I put my dictionary ... yesterday and now I can't find it.
f) I can see ... on the snow, but I can't say what it is.
5. Переведите на английский язык, употребив местоимения much, many
(a) little, (a) few.
a) Он никогда не кладет много сахара в чай.
b) У меня есть немного денег, поэтому мы можем пойти в кафе.
c) Она работает очень мало и поэтому знает английский язык
d) На столе стояло несколько тарелок.
e) В нашей школе было очень мало мужчин-учителей.
f) Она написала нам несколько писем из США.
Задание №1: Прочитайте, переведите и перескажите текст.
The Russian Federation
The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world. It occupies about one-seventh of the earth's surface. It covers the eastern part of Europe and the northern part of Asia. Its total area is about 17 million square kilometres. The country is washed by 12 seas of 3 oceans: the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic. In the south Russia borders on China, Mongolia, Korea, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In the west it borders on Norway, Finland, the Baltic States, Belorussia, the Ukraine. It also has a sea-border with the USA.
There is hardly a country in the world where such a variety of scenery and vegetation can be found. We have steppes in the south, plains and forests in the midland, tundra and taiga in the north, highlands and deserts in the east.
There are two great plains in Russia: the Great Russian Plain and the West Siberian Lowland. There are several mountain chains on the territory of the country: the Urals, the Caucasus, the Altai and others. The largest mountain chain, the Urals, separates Europe from Asia.
There are over two million rivers in Russia. Europe's biggest river, the Volga, flows into the Caspian Sea. The main Siberian rivers — the Ob, the Yenisei and the Lena -flow from the south to the north. The Amur in the Far East flows into the Pacific Ocean.
Russia is rich in beautiful lakes. The world's deepest lake (1,600 metres) is Lake Baikal. It is much smaller than the Baltic Sea, but there is much more water in it than in the Baltic Sea. The water in the lake is so clear that if you look down you can count the stones on the bottom.
Russia has one-sixth of the world's forests. They are concentrated in the European north of the country, in Siberia and in the Far East.
On the vast territory of the country there are various types of climate, from arctic in the north to subtropical in the south. In the middle of the country the climate is temperate and continental.
Russia is very rich in oil, coal, iron ore, natural gas, copper, nickel and other mineral resources.
Russia is a parliamentary republic. The Head of State is the President. The legislative powers are exercised by the Duma.
The capital of Russia is Moscow. It is its largest political, scientific, cultural and industrial centre. It is one of the oldest Russian cities.
At present, the political and economic situation in the country is rather complicated. There are a lot of problems in the national economy of the Russian Federation. The industrial production is decreasing. The prices are constantly rising, the rate of inflation is very high. People are losing their jobs because many factories and plants are going bankrupt.
But in spite of the problems Russia is facing at present, there are a lot of opportunities for this country to become one of the leading countries in the world. I'm sure that we, the younger generation, can do very much to make Russia as strong and powerful as it used to be.
Задание №2: Прочитайте и переведите текст. Выполните задания к тексту.
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