The author traces the story of Italian regulations previous to European Union Directive 2004/23/EC, offering a definition of the donation of organs or tissues. The Directive generates problems with regard to the right of privacy. The legal status of the collected material, if treated and transformed from waste to laboratory specimen, is that it is the property of the institution that collected it with the legitimate consent of the patient. This treatment may also result in inventions, liable to patent rights vested in the inventor or the scientist (or the research institution). The European Union Directive 2004/23/EC regulates these topics, but also leaves a rôle for Member States, establishing which treatments involve a transformation sufficient to issue property rights to the institution, providing the precise judicial status of tissue banks as the patrimony of the research institute, or giving it a legal status, as a simple agency of the institution.