AIPPI: The COVID-19 pandemic: pressures on IP


Eyal Bressler

AIPPI: The COVID-19 pandemic: pressures on IP

Marcin Janiec /

COVID-19 has resulted in major changes for IP. Eyal Bressler of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property examines some of the most significant.

The scourge of COVID-19 has expressed itself in loss of life and economic activity. The pandemic has claimed over three million deaths globally. Major economies have lost between 2.9 and 4.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) during 2020, while developing countries have suffered nearly 9% reduction of GDP during the first year of the pandemic (Statista, April 16, 2021). The response has led to extensive public-private efforts to address these twin challenges.

Most notable has been the unprecedented pace of COVID-19 vaccine development, authorisation and production, which has enabled more than 880 million vaccinations to 2.4% of the worldwide population (17.3 million vaccinations per day), according to the Financial Times, April 17, 2021.

This was the result of massive sums of funding for research and development (R&D) in and advance purchase commitments of including, as of March 16, 2021, Pfizer/BioNTech (BNT162b2) in the amount of more than $6 billion; Moderna (mRNA-1273), in the amount of nearly $6 billion; and AstraZeneca (CVnCoV-CureVac) in an amount of more than $2 billion (Bozorgmehr, K. et al, Lancet 397.10281 [2021]: 1261-1262).

AIPPI, COVID-19, pandemic, GDP, vaccine, R&D, Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, SARS, TRIPS, patents, compulsory licence, biosimilars, innovations