World Trade Organization members from India and South Africa have proposed a “Waiver from Certain Provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the Prevention, Containment and Treatment of COVID-19.” The proposal notes that COVID-19 is a global health emergency and that is imperative for WTO Members to ensure that IP rights “do not create barriers” to medical products such as vaccines and medicines, as well as other medical products, and points to reports about IP rights “hindering or potentially hindering timely provisioning of affordable medical products to the patients.” The result has been a firestorm between developed countries and developing nations. On May 18, 2021, in a Presidents’ Forum town-hall style meeting, speakers including Rob Isackson, NYIPLA President-Elect, will come together to address whether IP protections are necessary guardrails protecting the quality and sharing of pandemic resources, or unnecessary hindrances that are costing human lives. See here to register online.
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