Singapore: AIPPI opposes COVID-19 IP waiver

In brief

The International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) has released a paper claiming that a proposed COVID-19 IP waiver will negatively impact international cooperation and access to vaccines.


In more detail

The IP waiver proposes to temporarily waive IP rights to provide more equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments at an international scale. Proponents of the waiver assert it is necessary to help end the pandemic.

On the other hand, the AIPPI states that it remains unclear if the waiver will truly result in increased access to vaccines for lesser developed countries.

The AIPPI cites the need for a reliable IP framework, calling for World Trade Organization (WTO) members to view IP rights not as a barrier to development, manufacturing, and distribution, but rather as a necessary framework for which all stakeholders must agree to be bound. The AIPPI states that it is crucial to balance the right of all to access health services with safeguarding the current IP system.

The AIPPI further explains how IP rights have historically contributed to the advancement of science and underscores the necessity to adequately incentivize pharmaceutical companies to undertake the costly development of vaccines.

Key takeaways

The result of the IP waiver controversy may have far-reaching considerations within the IP industry. If the waiver is successful, it would represent one of the rare occasions when IP rights are diminished based on a necessity argument (as opposed to recognized narrow compulsory licensing frameworks under patent law).

This development will naturally impact pharmaceutical industries who entered into the investment-heavy vaccine development process.



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