Is it clear that no patent should be granted for somthing illegal or dangerous eg a Safe that's a Bomb?

Some people think GMO crops hurt the planet in a way that is dangerous to the survival of mankind.

Would it be possible to use this line of thought to defend against an infringement suit?

  • Thanks @GeorgeWhite, its not off-topic here because faq What topics can I ask about here? #2. US patent law or the patent approval process. Thanks for your helpful answer:) Jul 13 '13 at 8:26
  • As worded, this is thinly veiled activist propaganda, likely to generate discussion that would take it far outside the scope of this site. Downvoted for closing.
    – Ron J.
    Jul 13 '13 at 12:30
  • @RonJ - I have edited the question to make it more neutral.
    – George White
    Jul 14 '13 at 16:52

Having a patent does not give someone the right to actually make the patented item. It only gives them the right to try to stop others from making it. If you think something is harmful and no one should be doing it, that is not a patent issue. If company A has a patent and there is nothing in their way of making it, company A only can do it. All things being equal, without the patent anyone could make it. I don't think that helps anything, from your perspective.

Regarding using this in a defense, no. And it is a somewhat illogical question in that the infringer would actually be doing the "bad" thing to wind up needing a defense.

At one time the USPTO wouldn't grant patents for gambling machines under the theory they were immoral. Nothing in the law gave them the right to decide what was moral and after a court case the practice was ended. In Europe there are provisions in patent law regarding withholding patents from things that "violate public morality". In my opinion that is a mistake because it is so vague and capable of misuse and changing with politics. In the US if is not a nuclear weapon, cloning a human, or a human hybrid, its fine.

  • Agreed, it would be better handled through another legal channel. I think that the Patent office should take more in this regard... Jul 13 '13 at 8:16
  • So after explaining why the patent office is not and should not be the arbiter of things that are dangerous or immoral, you list three things that are often considered dangerous or immoral and suggest they could be rejected by the USPTO? Can you elaborate and resolve the inconsistency in your answer?
    – feetwet
    Apr 23 '16 at 20:22

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