Ana Santos Rutschman, ‘The Intellectual Property of COVID-19’

The response to COVID-19 is indissolubly tied to intellectual property. In an increasingly globalized world in which infectious disease pathogens travel faster and wider than before, the development of vaccines, treatments and other forms of medical technology has become an integral part of public health preparedness and response frameworks. The development of these technologies, and to a certain extent the allocation and distribution of resulting outputs, is informed by intellectual property regimes. These regimes influence the commitment of R&D resources, shape scientific collaborations and, in some cases, may condition the widespread availability of emerging technologies. As seen throughout this chapter, COVID-19 has exposed the shortcomings of ingrained reliance on intellectual property as a channel for the production and dissemination of medical technologies needed to address the problems posed by pandemics and epidemics. At the same time, COVID-19 has brought new life to countervailing efforts to explore legal and policy mechanisms to potentially offset some of the problems posed by the pervasiveness of, and shortcomings associated with, intellectual property dynamics …

Santos Rutschman, Ana, The Intellectual Property of COVID-19 (September 11, 2020). Forthcoming in Outsmarting Pandemics, Elizabeth Kirley and Deborah Porter (eds) (2021).

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