Intellectual property law is essentially a distinct classification of law which grants exclusive association or recognition of an individual with a particular intangible asset considered as his or her innovation. As further defined, “Intellectual property is rather highbrow name given to a given to a group of laws creating rights that have as their common thread the purpose of protecting products of the human mind” (Sumpter 2006, p.vii). On a historical perspective, the law’s jurisdictions and labelling has generally evolved from its early predecessor, christened industrial property. This was initially associated with patents, trademarks and industrial designs, which were passed under an international convention, ‘the Paris Convention for the protection of Industrial Property 1883” (Sumpter 2006, p.vii).
In the current formulation, the elements of intellectual property rights have a wider scope, which essentially includes copyright laws, trademarks, industrial designs, patents, and protection of disclosed information, layout designs of integrated circuits and other related components (Sumpter 2006, p.vii). The aim of widening the scope was to elementally give an answer to some of the emerging concerns regarding the legality of some aspects of intellectual property law. Even at present there are still numerous legal battles and controversies regarding the legality and extent to which the law can be practised due to emerging ethical concerns.
The subsequent inclusion of biological organism into the intellectual property law domain led to major oppositions from world acclaimed scientists, for instance, in the case of the Harvard oncomouse. “The Harvard oncomouse has an active oncogene in order to give it a genetic disposition to develop cancerous tumours and hence be a better laboratory animal for testing anti-cancer drugs and therapies” (Rimmer 2008, p.89). The concern has been on the jurisdictions of granting intellectual property rights to a living organism, which has been merely modified through biotechnology. In addition, there has been an escalating debate over seen in Canada, European Union, and United States concerning its litigation (Rimmer 2008, p.89). Therefore, there is need to further explore the matters on jurisdiction of intellectual property law involving living objects.