Deferring Intellectual Property Rights in Pandemic Times

63 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2022 Last revised: 15 Mar 2023

See all articles by Peter K. Yu

Peter K. Yu

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: March 20, 2022


This Article examines an unprecedented proposal that India and South Africa submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in October 2020, which called for a waiver of more than 30 provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights to help combat COVID-19. It begins by recounting the proposal's strengths and weaknesses. The Article then identifies the challenges surrounding the negotiation and implementation of the proposed waiver. It shows why these two sets of challenges were neither separate nor sequential, but deeply entangled at the time of the international negotiations.

To respond to these challenges and the negotiation impasse at the WTO, this Article advances an alternative proposal that calls for the deferral of select intellectual property rights in pandemic times. Aiming to "split the difference" between the proponents and opponents of the waiver, the proposal draws support from precedents involving temporal adjustments to intellectual property rights at both the international and domestic levels. The Article concludes by exploring the proposal's scope, strengths and limitations.

Suggested Citation

Yu, Peter K., Deferring Intellectual Property Rights in Pandemic Times (March 20, 2022). Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 74, pp. 489-550, 2023, Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 22-52 , Available at SSRN: or

Peter K. Yu (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County 76102
United States


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