Licensing Intellectual Property Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

In a grand gesture of altruism within our otherwise fiercely capitalist climate, leaders of industry in the fields of medicine and technology, such as Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft, have voluntarily relinquished their exclusive rights to their intellectual property in an effort to combat COVID-19 as part of the Open COVID Pledge.

As helpful as it’s been, the pledge is considered a temporary fix and an unlikely permanent solution.  An article recently published by the Minnesota Law Review entitled “Patent Pledging Problems: the Open COVID Pledge and Long-Term Solutions to Licensing Intellectual Property in Global Emergencies” discusses different available licenses and suggests compulsory licensing as a possible long-term option, referencing an article written by RPJ Attorneys Nafsika Karavida, Dara Onofrio and Deena R. Merlen, published by IP Watchdog, entitled “Patent Rights and Wrongs in the COVID-19 Pandemic: EU and U.S. Approaches to Compulsory Licensing,” to cite the U.S. government’s current lack of authority to mandate most intellectual property licensing.

The RPJ-penned article was also cited both domestically and internationally in “Help Was Not on the Way: Intellectual Property Liability Relief in a Pandemic Era” by Kim Vu-Dinh, Assistant Professor at Bowen School of Law, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Dustin Marlan, Assistant Professor at UMass School of Law, University of Massachusetts—Dartmouth, published by the Brigham Young University Copyright Licensing Office,  “Merits and Drawbacks in Compulsory Licenses of COVID-19 Vaccines: Protecting Public Health or Rewarding Innovation?” by Eva Xu, published by The Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal,  “The EU Vaccine Strategy on COVID-19 vaccine: the complex position of Intellectual Property Rights within EU’s legislation” by Maria Luisa Polo Rubiales, published by the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and “Covid-19, derechos de Propiedad Intelectual y licencias obligatorias” by Miguel Rapela and Gustavo Schotz, originally published by Revista Juridica La Ley in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Licensing Intellectual Property

To learn more about what happens when a pandemic strikes and licensed intellectual property become necessary tools for solving a global crisis, read the full MLR article here and the IP Watchdog article here.