Covid-19 & Intellectual Property

Categories: Asma Raza

Currently, the main challenge is not access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments or cures, but the lack of approved vaccines, treatments or drugs to access. At this point, therefore, governments should focus politically on supporting science and innovation to produce vaccines, therapies or drugs.

For access, the first task is to identify the entry barriers. There are many barriers to access such as lack of manufacturing capacity for medical tokens of equipment, barriers to the movement of such boards and equipment, import duty Overhead need to address these barriers.

Facilitate access to innovation and creative content

Intellectual property (IP) can also be a barrier to entry if innovation produces effective results and countries are unable to obtain innovation on suitable and affordable terms. In this context, rules exist at national and international level to facilitate access where intellectual property is an obstacle. The application of these provisions should be targeted and limited in time, ie linked specifically to the barriers to intellectual property that have been demonstrated in access during the COVID-19 pandemic, and given that without innovation, there is nothing to access.

Currently, the main challenge is not access to vaccines, therapies or cures against COVID-19, but the lack of approved and available vaccines, treatments or treatments.

In the CCI sector, there are exceptions and limitations to intellectual property systems that are intended to facilitate under certain circumstances and under certain conditions access to books, publications and other creative content. Such creative content plays an essential role in disseminating data, information and knowledge that can be essential for innovation or for dealing with the disadvantages of detention and solitary confinement necessarily imposed in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The use of this flexibility in the context of the COVID-19 crisis should focus on the lack of demonstrated access and be limited to the goal of overcoming this lack of access during the crisis. It should be noted that many rights holders around the world have taken voluntary steps, through innovative licensing systems and other measures, to ensure free access to a large amount of relevant content during the crisis.

Intellectual property as a driving force of innovation

In a global economy, increasingly driven by technological advances, intellectual property (IP) plays an increasingly important role.

One of the most important tasks of intellectual property is to provide an enabling environment in which innovation can be fostered and protected at many, often dangerous stages, from invention to commercial product or service. Likewise, in the creative industry, intellectual property is essential for a business model that rewards and facilitates relationships and transactions between authors and composers, performers, publishers, music and audiovisual producers, broadcasters and distributors such as libraries or various electronic distribution platforms.

Balancing competing interests

Well-functioning intellectual property systems aim to strike a balance between different competing interests in technological and business innovation and cultural creativity.

In the field of technology, these interests include startups, research and development institutions, public and private, universities and enterprises, as well as the interests of financial, public and private sponsors and the society as a whole, who benefit from innovation. takes place.

In the field of the creative industries, various interests include writers and journalists, music composers, photographers, visual artists, musicians, actors, publishers, music and audiovisual producers, media, authors, creators and producers of video games, broadcasters from libraries, archives, music and video platforms and consumers.

Mitigating emergencies like COVID-19: IP policy measures

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing widespread and profound suffering and misery across the world. The measures being undertaken by governments to fight the pandemic, to reduce suffering and to stop the further proliferation of the virus are also causing, as a necessary side effect, widespread economic disruption, which, in turn, is causing and will cause widespread suffering as businesses stall, global value chains cease to be able to function and employees and entrepreneurs and the many participants in the gig economy lose their livelihood.

The IP system recognizes at both the national and the international levels that emergencies and catastrophes may call for measures that may disrupt the normal functioning of the incentive framework upon which the IP system is based during the period of the emergency or catastrophe.

The policy measures that are available in international and national IP law to manage and to mitigate emergencies and catastrophes include compulsory licenses and licenses of right of patented technology embodied in vital medical supplies and medicines; and the use of exceptions in relation to cultural and educational works to ensure the availability of vital data, information and knowledge for the purposes of combatting and containing the virus, reducing the human suffering that it is causing and enabling disrupted institutions, such as schools and universities, to continue to carry out their missions in remote or virtual conditions. These measures, when deployed in a targeted and time-bound manner, may be useful or even vital when there is evidence of a need to which they may be addressed.

WIPO: at the service of the international community

WIPO is at the disposal of any Member State that wishes, with advice and assistance on innovation policy, a targeted use of exceptions and limitations, an appropriate use of flexibility to grant access when it is necessary proved that intellectual property is a barrier, and adapting Intellectual property rules and regulations to mitigate the damage caused by the COVID-19 crisis and its economic impact.

We believe that measures should address the crisis and lack of access once the barrier has been proven to be intellectual property, as opposed to other factors such as the lack of adequate capacity or supply chains. disrupted deliveries that affect various forms require action.

We believe that actions should also be aimed primarily at alleviating suffering, but should take into account the needs of inventors, authors, creators, performers, start-ups and other economic actors from cultural and technological communities in need. as a result, the necessary steps are taken to combat the virus. Their survival is essential to the recovery and prosperity of the economy and society as we try to emerge from the crisis and restore viable economies and societies.

Supporting the challenges of innovation in the COVID-19 era

Actions taken within WIPO to contribute to the innovation challenge include:

  • Establish a clearinghouse or policy monitoring tool to provide information on actions taken by IP agencies to contribute to innovation by responding to businesses in need by extending deadlines and setting targets deferral time targets for payment of fees. In addition, Policy Tracker provides information on policies available or implemented regarding exceptions, restrictions or compulsory licenses.
  • The PATENTSCOPE database contains more than 80 million technology disclosures, multilingual search functions, a machine translation system and a COVID-19 search and extraction program specially designed to facilitate access to the technological information disclosed in the published patents related to inventions. related to the detection and prevention or treatment of COVID-19. This valuable resource of technological intelligence is widely used daily by hundreds of thousands of scientific and technological institutions and companies around the world.
  • The establishment of a partnership with scientific, medical and technical publishers, Access to Research and Development for Innovation (ARDI), which provides free online access to major scientific and technical journals to local not-for-profit institutions in least developed countries and access at a modest cost to institutions in middle income developing countries.
  • The establishment of some 900 Technology and Innovation Support Centers worldwide to provide access to patent and scientific data and publications and ancillary facilities for researchers in least developed, developing and transition economies.
  • As the agency within the United Nations system responsible for IP services, policy, information and cooperation, WIPO is well equipped to address the issues arising for IP and innovation, with expertise and experience in the policy, economic and legal aspects of IP dating from its foundation in the 19th Century.
  • It is recognized that among the many effects of the COVID-19 crisis is the disruption of the normal processes by which policy is formulated at the international level. Those processes usually involve inclusive meetings of the full membership of the Organization, something that is practically impossible at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance is therefore issued under the responsibility of the Director General and cannot be considered to bind any member state.


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