COVID-19 and IP Protections on Critical Medical Innovations
The development of COVID-19 vaccines and other related technologies is enabling the world to slowly conquer the pandemic. Under normal circumstances, inventors are able to enforce their patent rights for these types of innovations. There are exceptions for emergencies which enable countries to force compulsory licensing, as long as the patent holder is remunerated. In the case of technologies used to fight COVID-19, the World Trade Organization has received a proposal for countries to waive intellectual property protections, which some argue would set an unusual and possibly dangerous precedent for IP rights.
Kristin Jakobsen Osenga is the Austin E. Owen Research Scholar and Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law.