Patents for Humanity

(2012) 3 (2) The World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO Journal 196-221

26 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2012 Last revised: 7 Feb 2013

See all articles by Matthew Rimmer

Matthew Rimmer

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Date Written: October 15, 2012


This article evaluates two policy initiatives by the United States Government to address access to essential medicines -- Priority Review vouchers and “Patents for Humanity." Such proposals are aimed at speeding up the regulatory review of inventions with humanitarian uses and applications by the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is argued that such measures fall short of international standards and norms established by the World Intellectual Property Organization Development Agenda 2007; the World Trade Organization’s Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health 2001 and the WTO General Council Decision of August 30, 2003; and the World Health Organization’s declarations on intellectual property and public health. This article concludes that there is a need for broader patent law reform in the United States to address matters of patent law and public health. Moreover, there is a need to experiment with other, more promising alternative models of research and development -- such as medical innovation prizes, a Health Impact Fund, the Medicines Patent Pool, and Open Source Drug Discovery.

Keywords: Patent Law, Priority Review Vouchers, Patents for Humanity, Access to Essential Medicines, Pharmaceutical Drugs

Suggested Citation

Rimmer, Matthew, Patents for Humanity (October 15, 2012). (2012) 3 (2) The World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO Journal 196-221, Available at SSRN: or

Matthew Rimmer (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, Queensland QLD 4000

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics