The world is in motion to contain the advance of COVID-19, coronavirus. If, on one hand, the population migrates to the home office, on the other hand, health professionals are getting exhausted, attending, and examining new potential cases. Researchers are launching themselves into a race to develop a vaccine against the virus.
In recent days, news has been released about a possible dispute between the US and Germany over the exclusivity of the potential vaccine that could control the pandemic *. In this case, we are facing a series of questions involving intellectual property over a coronavirus “vaccine.” Given researchers’ efforts to access the “medicine” and the debates about loss of cause and funding for further research, questions arise, including why there is a patent for this type of vaccine.
The defense of intellectual property for this medicine has strong arguments: guaranteeing a legal monopoly to those who, during the global pandemic, continued to work, put themselves at risk, and reached a solution that will serve society as a whole.
The idea is not that there is an illicit or immoral enrichment for anyone who develops the vaccine. The laws that regulate intellectual property and competition ensure that society does not harm itself by granting a legal monopoly. The intellectual property system establishes the right balance between the person who developed the solution and the population, who can benefit from the fruits of others’ efforts.
The economic fundamentals of intellectual property must be remembered, continuously, in times of crisis. The aim is to avoid conflicts between rights holders, researchers, the Life Science industry, and society.
Industries cannot stop, and neither can the economies. The effort of these professionals needs to be understood. The granting of legal protection to the vaccine, and other intellectual property assets, is a fundamental part of the efforts to safeguard society, helping to avoid actions that could be harmful, such as, for example, counterfeiting. Note that there are already records of production of false exams for the COVID-19*(More information is available in our article,”Fighting counterfeit has no boundaries!“).
The intellectual property system acts to safeguard society broadly, in that it also requires and guarantees the publication, for everyone’s knowledge, of the products and services that are under protection. In this way, it is possible to make a comparison between similar products, to identify those that may be an additional threat to the population, instead of bringing a cure.
In times of crisis, such as currently, distinguishing originals products from mere counterfeiting, created by a third party who sought illicit enrichment, is part of preventing actions necessary to combat the advance of the new coronavirus.