COVID-19 and the Role of Intellectual Property: Position Statement of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition of 7 May 2021

15 Pages Posted: 20 May 2021 Last revised: 8 Jun 2021

See all articles by Reto Hilty

Reto Hilty

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; University of Zurich; Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Pedro Henrique D. Batista

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Suelen Carls

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Daria Kim

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Matthias Lamping

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Peter R. Slowinski

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Date Written: May 7, 2021

Abstract

In this Statement, the authors take a position on the waiver of intellectual property (IP) protection currently being considered by the members of the World Trade Organisation. The waiver was initiated by India and South Africa as a measure to enable rapid access to affordable medical products that are necessary to combat Covid-19. The initiative gained momentum after the US decided to support it. The authors do not consider this path to be expedient. The Statement presents factual and legal arguments why a comprehensive waiver of IP protection is unlikely to be a necessary and suitable measure towards the pursued objective. Overall, it argues that IP rights may so far have played an enabling and facilitating rather than hindering role in overcoming Covid-19. The global community might not be better off if IP rights are waived, neither during nor after the pandemic. There are more efficient and direct ways to supply developing countries with vaccines quickly – if the industrialised countries are willing to do their share.

The Statement can be supported by filling in the form: https://forms.gle/c4kc8m9JE44AwjoJ7.

Keywords: access to medicines; COVID-19; compulsory licensing; know-how; innovation incentives; patents; vaccines; waiver of IP; WTO

Suggested Citation

Hilty, Reto and Batista, Pedro Henrique D. and Carls, Suelen and Kim, Daria and Lamping, Matthias and Slowinski, Peter R., COVID-19 and the Role of Intellectual Property: Position Statement of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition of 7 May 2021 (May 7, 2021). Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 21-13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3841549 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3841549

Reto Hilty (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.ip.mpg.de

University of Zurich

Rämistrasse 74/7
Zürich, CH-8001
Switzerland

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Munich, 80539
Germany

Pedro Henrique D. Batista

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

Suelen Carls

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Daria Kim

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

Matthias Lamping

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.ip.mpg.de

Peter R. Slowinski

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

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