U.S. Chamber’s IP Index highlights progress and new threats

The 11th International IP Index was published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, highlighting the danger of COVID-19 IP infringement and its potential impact on our capacity to respond to future pandemics. This has been a long-standing concern expressed by BIO.

According to the IP Index report, 18 economies exhibited growth, with Asia experiencing the most significant rise in their “regional average score,” due to the progress made in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The IP Index further indicates that 28 economies remained unchanged, suggesting that the global efforts to enhance IP protection might have hit a roadblock, and the scores of nine economies, particularly Russia, declined.

“Economies are threatening to weaken the framework for IP-driven innovation,” says the report—especially with regards to COVID-19 technology, which would “undermine the innovation ecosystem that was pivotal to combatting COVID-19 and threaten the ability to respond effectively to the next major global public health threat.”

“IP rights facilitated 143 licensing agreements in 31 different countries for COVID-19 therapeutics alone, in turn ensuring that global supply well exceeds demand,” explains the report.

“We all agree that technology and innovation are essential to solving the world’s most vexing problems. Protecting that IP is what drives investment. And it is the means by which new technologies reach the market, generate economic growth, and improve people’s lives,” said U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal in recorded remarks.

With a public hearing anticipated later this spring, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is presently looking into the proposal to extend the COVID-19 IP waiver to therapeutics and diagnostics.

“Real questions remain on a range of issues, and the additional time, coupled with information from the [U.S. International Trade Commission], will help the world make a more informed decision on whether extending the Ministerial Decision to COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics would result in increased access to those products. Transparency is critical and USTR will continue to consult with Congress, stakeholders, and others as we continue working to end the pandemic and support the global economic recovery,” Ambassador Katherine Tai stated in a press release.

Five recipients, including BIO members Gilead and Regeneron, received the esteemed Patents for Humanity Prize recently from the USPTO in recognition of their work in creating crucial COVID therapeutics and making them widely accessible through licensing and cost-free distribution.

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