Doctoral dissertation on new technologies and patent law

On Friday 30 August 2013, Tine Sommer will defend her doctoral dissertation bearing the title Can Law Make Life (too) Simple? From gene patents to the patenting of environmentally sound technologies.

2013.08.19 | Julia Rolsted Stacey

Tine Sommer’s dissertation bears the title Can Law Make Life (too) Simple? From gene patents to the patenting of environmentally sound technologies.

At the core of the dissertation are the challenges to modern patent law, which is put under pressure from new technologies, such as developments in biotechnology.

Tine Sommer’s research takes as its starting point the genetic patenting of 6 different genetic diseases, through which she has examined whether patent legislation should react to the technological developments, or whether the patent authorities and courts should rather adjust to accommodate these developments within the existing legislative framework.

Broad brush strokes
With her dissertation Tine Sommer recommends broader brush strokes.

"My work shows that by detailed regulation of gene patenting, the patent system proves inadequate, since genes are comprised in complex biological systems," says Tine Sommer and continues:

"The ensuing consequence is that the simple (detailed) legislation does not take account of those complex biological systems, but ends up having a stultifying effect on the interaction between technology and patent protection."

Tine Sommer’s dissertation sheds light on patent legislation within a multileveled and fragmented context, which also includes taking a critical view of the increasing involvement of the EU in procedural and substantive patent law.

Leave of absence
Tine Sommer is professor at the Department of Law, School of Business and Social Sciences, and is a researcher of EU legislation, patent law and environmental law. Moreover, she teaches courses in EU law and patent law. Currently, Tine Sommer is on a leave of absence from her job as professor at School of Business and Social Sciences, and from June 2013 to April 2014 she will serve as acting High Court judge at the Western High Court in Viborg.

Further information

Professor Tine Sommer

Tine Sommer
Professor, Department of Law
Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Sciences


  • The doctoral defence will take place on 30 August 2013 at 1 pm in Juridisk Auditorium, room 275, building 1343, Bartholins Allé, Aarhus University. The defence is open to the public.
  • Tine Summer, 49, earned her degree as Master of Laws from Aarhus University in 1991.
  • In 1998, Tine Sommer obtained her PhD degree from Aarhus University. In 2008 she was employed by the former Aarhus School of Business, which today is part of the Department of Law at School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University.
Research news