Arti Rai's article in the Fall 1999 issue of the Northwestern University Law Review explores the proper use of both legal rules and prescriptive norms to shape behavior in the basic biological research community. Rai's article builds upon the extensive work in this area by Rebecca Eisenberg, which first attained prominence through Eisenberg's article in the December 1987 issue of the Yale Law Journal. Eisenberg concludes that the use of patents in the area of basic biological research may frustrate central norms of the community. Rai prescribes concerted public and private action as the best tools for avoiding patents and the problems Eisenberg attributes to them. This essay responds to patent critics like Rai and Eisenberg by showing how patents are essential for promoting the central norms of the basic biological research community.

Date of this Version

October 2000