Media Release

Oncomouse Decision Coming from the Supreme Court, Thursday, December 5, 2002

Dec 04 2002

Toronto: The Supreme Court of Canada has announced that judgement will be issued Thursday in the case of The Commissioner of Patents v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. The Canadian Environmental Law Association was an Intervener in the case and also represented Greenpeace Canada, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration, and the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy. The Court will be ruling on whether Harvard College is entitled to a patent over a mammal - in this case the Oncomouse and any other mammal containing the patented onco-gene."This decision will determine whether patenting on living animals will continue in Canada. CELA argued to the Court that patents in biotechnology are causing harm to scientific research and publications, and to the development of new drugs and medical treatments. The case will be important for Canada in determining whether to amend the Patent Act to protect the public interest in biomedical research," stated Michelle Swenarchuk, CELA counsel. CELA counsel and the Interveners will be reviewing the decision Thursday morning for its implications and will be available for comment after the decision is released.-30-For further information, contact: Paul Muldoon, Executive Director, CELA 416-960-2284 ext. 219 (assistant Sharon, ext.211)Theresa McClenaghan, Counsel, CELA 519-442-1589 or 416-960-2284 ext. 218 (assistant Tracy, ext. 210)Jo Dufay, Greenpeace, cell 416-451-9354 or 613-526-9860Anne Mitchell, Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, cell 416-577-8402 or 416-923-3529 ext. 24Dr. Kapil Khatter, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment 416-463-3080Pat Mooney, Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration 204-453-5259 (Winnipeg)