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Impact of COVID-19 on Patent Laws

The development of vaccines during this pandemic has become the number one priority of all countries. As more and more developing and under developed countries witness rising cases of COVID-19 infected patients, they struggle to meet the medical needs of their populations. Pharmaceutical companies around the world are highly motivated to invent a vaccine against Corona virus due to the patent laws that allow them to gain certain exclusive economic benefits. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights allows flexibility through the discretion given to individual member states in situations of national and international emergencies regarding the level of protection provided under Intellectual Property Laws.

Canada has responded to this emergency situation by implementing the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act[1], which mandates the Controller of Patents to allow government authorisation by way of compulsory licensing of any patent application made which serves as a an appropriate drug against COVID-19. Chile has adopted Resolution No. 896[2] in the same light to allow the compulsory licencing to facilitate the government is fighting against the pandemic. In addition, countries such as France[3], Germany and Israel have also taken similar measures.


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