IP Rights Underpin U.S. Private Sector Response to COVID-19

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, America’s innovation community has rallied like never before to help bring innovative answers to this crisis. The nation’s top scientific minds, pharmaceutical companies, and leading university research centers have moved quickly to help develop and provide COVID-19 treatments, vaccines, diagnostic testing, and potential cures to Americans all those affected by the pandemic.

A study recently released by the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center highlights how scientists in the United States have played a leading role in conducting clinical trials of potential COVID-19 solutions in all 50 states and about 85% of congressional districts. There have been a total of 624+ clinical trials reported, with the largest number of clinical trials (150+) taking place in some of the hardest-hit states, such as California and New York.

In a recent event titled Discover and Deliver Launch Map and Release experts discussed the work that innovative companies are doing to deliver COVID-19 related treatments, vaccines, and technologies that will lead the world out of the coronavirus crisis. Jonathan Weinberger, the VP of GIPC, mentioned that the US Chamber and GIPC advocate for “not importing pricing schemes that ration the cures available to patients that will restrict investment in the sciences and innovation. Instead, there should be a push to export real solutions, expand innovation, and make sure patients have access to affordable drugs.”

With COVID-19 research expanding throughout the country, innovators are increasing their presence and response to help combat the virus. However, they are relying on governments and bureaucrats around the world to protect open markets and an entrepreneurial environment. That is, maintaining strong intellectual property protections, removing trade barriers, burdensome regulations, unreasonable tariffs, and export bans.

It is the private sector that is leading the response to COVID-19. With the pandemic continuing to spread rapidly, it is small businesses that are developing creative scientific and technological solutions aimed to stop the spread of the virus.

Recently an open global coalition letter, signed by the US Chamber of Commerce, encouraged heads of state and government leaders to work together to discover and deliver innovative and creative solutions to the challenges the pandemic has created. The letter mentioned that private businesses have been instrumental in supporting the worldwide response to COIVD-19 by mobilizing and creating protective equipment, advanced diagnostics, disinfection products, medical devices, and potential treatments and vaccines. It is through governments, university research centers, foundations, non-profits and the private sector working together not apart that will bring about new incentives and solutions aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus.

To support these breakthroughs the letter underscores the importance of intellectual property rights:

“Effective protection of patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights has enabled the rapid private sector response to the pandemic. Clear, transparent, and predictable intellectual property rules are facilitating collaboration between private sector researchers, universities, and national laboratories on hundreds of potential COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. These protections will be essential to support the rapid manufacturing and distribution of safe and effective treatments and vaccines when they are approved.”

Intellectual property rights play a critical role in spawning innovation and competition to help drive scientific discoveries leading to COVID-19 cures and boosting chances for a quick economic recovery. Guarding stronger IP protections will allow the private sector to produce viable input to help solve this crisis.

Property Rights Alliance supports intellectual property rights as an integral component of any country’s response to COVID-19 and is crucial to supporting the innovation required to produce therapies, vaccines, diagnostics, and medical devices.

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