The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the benefits of collaborative research in many ways. Almost every day, data is made available free of charge on print servers, which is crucial for understanding viral biology and researching potential medicines and vaccines. In addition, research and discovery of genomic structures, traditionally restricted to private institutions, is available to the public on platforms such as GISAID to help scientists and researchers work with open access resources. One of the main proposals to promote this type of unprecedented collaborative research is to support voluntary intellectual property pools, particularly drug patent pools. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Union strongly support the same, while the United States and the United Kingdom rejected this resolution at the 73rd World Health Assembly Medicines Patents Pool (MPP)),
A United Nations-sponsored public health organization working to improve access to life-saving medicines in low and middle income countries has played a key role in creating this pool and has expanded its mandate to COVID-19 -related health technologies. The idea of a pool of patents can be particularly useful for large generics manufacturers like India. This pool can help combine expertise and know-how to produce drugs that have been shown to be effective in a pandemic faster.
What Is A Patent Pool And How Does It Work?
Although patent funds alone are not a new patent exchange tool and allow for simple licensing procedures, the global patent fund proposal is unprecedented. The largest group, Mega Pools, was at the industry level, which now seems small compared to the proposed global patent pool. Patent groups have also recently been considered for the Industry Standard Essential Patent (SEP) license. Especially due to the growing number of SEP related disputes in the EU, you are beginning to identify SEP patent pools as a solution that will help create a predictable framework for setting standards and promoting transparency. The success of these patent groups and their licensing conditions also determine the success of SEP.
A patent pool is a contract between the parties that hold patents to license their patented products to themselves or to other specific third parties. Industrial companies primarily use patent pools when they have to share complex and mature technologies that require the use of third party patents and cannot be used successfully without infringing them. Instead of following the expensive way of searching for licenses and licenses at all levels and for each patent, you can use the products in the patent pool as soon as the parties agree to the terms of the original license. A patent group is a summary of the patent rights shared among group members based on commission payments or in proportion to their contribution to the group, etc. The tool allows many elements to customize the options.
Patent groups influence innovative and competitive behavior. The pandemic has highlighted the need for joint research, and a description of recognized results in patent groups is useful here. Joining patents has many advantages. Benefits include lower performance and transaction costs. The production of goods is accelerated by creating patent groups and then exchanging available information. It enables technology development using existing information and increases the chances of innovation only if the product must be created from scratch. It also helps in cases where patents complement each other. H. If a specific technology can be built using existing patented products and the patent holders are different parts, the presence of a group of patents, not only the use of patents to share a patented product, but also related expertise that promotes innovation and accelerates.
This point is associated with the reduction of transaction costs thanks to patent groups. By simply facilitating the use of patented technologies, patent pools help overcome administrative barriers by enabling licenses through membership rather than encouraging interested parties to obtain permits, licenses, royalties, etc. for using the technology. In this case, licensing of patent groups would make SEP particularly useful for SEP owners and SEP licensees to reduce transaction costs. In addition, the introduction of FRAND licensing practices (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) to the benefit of SEP owners would increase the potential success of patent pools.
While patent groups contribute to innovation, on the one hand, they raise concerns about anti-competitive behavior, on the other. The creation of patent groups often raised questions about how they can effectively support support for innovation, if this leads to a restriction of competition by allowing the use of competing products within the group. In particular, this problem is exacerbated when looking for alternative or replacement products. Given this problem, competition regulators generally believe that patent pools should ideally consist of complementary patents (patents working together) rather than replacement patents, as this will reduce incentives for innovation, if available. There is a similar product on the plate. Another problem within the patent group is the possibility of collusion between group members on issues that go beyond the agreed patent allocation, for example, B. exchange of information on prices and market strategies, etc., which is more damaging to the market and consumers than usual.
The Proposed Voluntary Patents Pool
The Costa Rican government initially proposed to run a series of tests on the rights to pandemic corona viruses, drugs and vaccines that should be made available free of charge or under minimal and affordable license terms to ensure that countries with limited financial resources do not rest easy. Beware. Last month, the European Union proposed to the World Health Assembly, the WHO decision-making body, to use a group of voluntary patents, and WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus approved. The proposed set aims to collect patent rights, regulatory test data, and other information and intellectual property that aid in vaccine and drug development and improve diagnostic skills.
Voluntary grouping is an alternative to the mandatory and voluntary licensing options discussed by governments and stakeholders. The goal is to accelerate scientific discoveries and ensure the widespread distribution of the benefits that give them access, rather than focusing solely on the manufacture of proprietary products deemed necessary. Sharing all relevant data and technologies related to COVID-19 within the group could lead to the creation of a global public good that is urgently needed to combat the pandemic. This group focuses not only on scientific progress, but above all on ensuring that the results of this progress are available worldwide, especially for countries that otherwise could not afford it. While many countries such as Israel, Canada, and Chile have already taken steps to speed up the licensing process and have adapted their patent regime to weaken the rights of patent holders, the voluntary group can be used as an alternative mechanism to these systems. . . Because pharmaceutical companies voluntarily license their COVID-19 products, it can be very helpful to use the volunteer group for collaboration and research.
Although the creation of this group of volunteers brings clear benefits, there have been concerns about how the volunteer group can encourage pharmaceutical companies and companies to share intellectual property. Although patent pools were offered during health crises related to the SARS epidemic in 2002 and the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, they were not created, which raises doubts about their success in public health emergencies. Because patent clusters are not common in the pharmaceutical sector, this still raises doubts about their success. Given the high production costs associated with the pharmaceutical sector, the long incubation period in the form of clinical trials and regulatory obstacles, and the search for commercial exclusivity of products, the possibilities for cooperation were very limited. In addition, the creation of a voluntary patent group limits the powers of countries to exercise compulsory licenses to ensure the availability of real medicines. By proposing a voluntary group, the patent holder can simply opt out. As COVID-19 presents the gold mine to pharmaceutical companies, it will turn out how many of them will voluntarily release their exclusive products in the group. In a comparable situation, the response of pharmaceutical companies to the AIDS crisis in developing countries may be indicative.
However, it seems that society and the media are putting enough pressure on individuals, especially pharmaceutical companies, who are trying to force them to share their products and patents more openly and to intensify their efforts to combat the crisis. Employed by governments to overcome patent barriers. So when it comes to carrots, the whip seems to work for greater research collaboration than for privatized research methods. and a voluntary group sharing intellectual property has the potential to lead joint efforts in the right direction.