March 23, 2020
COVID-19: Patents are not adequate incentives for vaccine research
Martin explains that vaccine development in the midst of a global pandemic is difficult because by the time scientists have marketing authorisation for their vaccine, the virus might have already swept through a population.
In that event, companies would have invested millions of dollars and have little guarantee for a return on their investment.
Speaking to Managing IP, Martin comments: “The patent application process takes several years to complete, and one can only enforce a granted patent. Heaven knows how one would optimally enforce a vaccine patent during a pandemic such as coronavirus.”
“In such scenarios, governments may need rapid access to the patented technology and can’t be held to ransom. As a result, licence negotiations would become a second order consideration, and might not conclude as favourably as they would in a freely negotiated environment.”
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