Patents: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution

India’s joint proposal with South Africa at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for a temporary waiver of certain Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) obligations to ensure smooth supply of medicines and vaccines during the Covid-19 pandemic has gained support from most developing countries while several developed members, including the US, Australia and the EU, opposed it by saying that voluntary licenses are the most appropriate solution to scale up manufacturing in response to covid-19.

Patents are granted in exchange for a full disclosure of the invention. In return for obtaining a time-limited monopoly, the inventor must disclose the invention so that others know how to make it. Where there is no patent, there may be no disclosure also.

Clearly the solution to ending the pandemic does not lie in denying the patent…..

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