The following Life Sciences practice note Produced in partnership with Chris Boyle, Bethany Wise and Maria Isabel Manley of Sidley Austin LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
We are facing a new life-threatening virus, rapidly spreading on a global scale, for which there is currently no effective treatment or vaccine. Thankfully, this crisis has been met by an explosion of innovation and new product development, supported by incredible generosity from pharmaceutical and medical device companies that are pooling their resources, making accessible their relevant intellectual property (IP) and supplying products for free or at cost. While the unprecedented sharing of IP is highly commendable to combat the pandemic, companies should be mindful of the manner in which their IP is protected and shared to avoid potentially adverse consequences to their IP rights and sustainable product development in the longer term.
Companies will also need to be aware that some governments are considering extreme measures such as the use of compulsory licensing to allow third parties to use new technologies while avoiding patent infringement. This is concerning because the erosion of IP protection risks undermining future research and development (R&D) since effective IP protection is essential to secure high-risk life sciences investment. Governments must therefore ensure that any extraordinary measures implemented in response to the pandemic do not compromise the development of future medical technologies.
Companies typically rely on patents for their core IP protection for medicines and medical devices. However, legislators have found patent protection to be insufficient to incentivise the development
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