>CORN SMUT WONDER DRUG DISCOVERED
>screams the headline of your local newspaper. The wonder drug is touted by
>the health community as a cure for Whatever Disease. I have an exclusive
>contract to sell corn smut to the drug company because I have a patent on
>my version of smut as a new wonder drug.
>Now, some questions.
>Do I have the right to grow my corn smut next to your corn field? (Here I
>assume that corn smut is a wind borne spore and remember, you cannot
>participate in the corn smut market because I have a patent on using smut
>to make the new wonder drug.)
>Would I not be liable for your losses if my corn smut is so agressive that
>it infects your whole crop and makes it unuseable for its intended purpose?
>To prevent me from totally trashing your crops, do you have to pay me the
>opportunity cost of not raising corn smut for my new life saving, smut
>derived wonder drug?
>I am not a lawyer but I find it hard to believe that this would be legal.
>It is obviously immoral but if it is legal it would sure be a nasty way to
>settle a score with your neighbor. Mike Miller
Just to complicate the thought experiment. The Indians in central Mexico
have been growing corn smut commercially for centuries. It is considered a
gourmet delicacy (it is actually quite delicious) and is believed to have
health benefits. It is called Huitlacoche.
(weet lah kotchy).
So for one things, Indian rights advocates would fight your patent on the
grounds of prior art.
Also, by the way, it isn't that easy to grow, there are a few tricks to
it--unlikely to be a problem for neighbors under most circumstances. :-)
Mexico, D.F. & San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
Tel. y FAX 525-666-73-66 (DF)
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