Patent Law is mainly concerned with balancing public and private interests while concentrating on the economic development. Protection of patents is a crucial pre-requisite for private investment in research and development sector which is necessary in growth of Pharmaceutical interest. In this dark decade of World’s history, during the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, could excessive patent protection adversely affect public interest involved in promotion of public health, safety as well as welfare of the society at large?
What are Patents?
Patents may be defined as the exclusive rights ‘limited by time’ in exchange of new and useful inventions. These rights are granted by the Government to the inventor as a reward for disclosing his invention to the public. A monopoly of the patent is the reward of the inventor. Patent rights are ‘the negative set of rights’ which exclude others from practicing the invention. Doing so, would call for patent infringement which could be prosecuted in appropriate court of Law.
IP Rights Waiver in Covid-19 Vaccines:
Since every right comes with a set of corresponding duty or liability, wavering of patents could prove to be as a big step towards ending vaccine inequality among high-income and low income nations. While there is high concentrated production in these developed countries, the manufacture of covid-19 vaccines in low or mid-income countries occurs through licensing or technology transfer agreements. Since, compulsory licensing is a lengthy process, temporary waivering of patents would serve as a better option addressing as well as controlling the health crisis in the world.
Possible effects of Patent Waiver
This would open up the space for rapid manufacture and production of covid-19 vaccines which could serve as an immediate relief and improve availability of vaccines in low-income nations. Many developed nations including the U.S (The largest pharmaceutical industry), France and New Zealand had previously opposed Patent waiver, are now extending support to India and South Africa at WTO negotiation table.
Adv. PRANITA MAKASARE
Bsc.(HONS) Agri, LLB, LLM