As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread globally, the life sciences industry is at the forefront of addressing the urgent need for pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, ventilators, and personal protective equipment capable of helping to contain the surge.
While the laws of many countries provide for certain mechanisms that limit the right of patentees to exclude others from using their inventions for the benefit of public welfare, in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, among others, Germany has recently enacted emergency legislation that gives the government additional powers to circumvent patent law and ensure medical supplies, medication, or vaccines can be made available locally. Many more countries are currently discussing similar regulations. The World Health Organization (WHO) supports such endeavors.
In this article, we will examine public and patent law mechanisms to suspend patent protection of critical drugs and equipment in Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States to help fight the corona crisis.
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