Do not push: a patent rebellion


Compulsory licensing can seem like a taboo subject among patent professionals, but many countries would argue it is essential. WIPR takes a look at a controversial area of intellectual property to find out more.

In an ideal world, patent rights would lead to the best possible advancements, when we need them, at prices we can afford. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes people need things that they can’t afford, so alternative methods have been developed to make sure that those who need to use a technology can do so legally.

One such method is compulsory licensing. A country’s right to grant compulsory licences for patents is provided in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to strike a balance between promoting access to existing technologies and securing research and development.

This is aimed at pharmaceutical technology, but climate change has opened up the possibility of using compulsory licensing for clean technologies too.

Compulsory licensing, patent rights, NATCO, Nexavar