CLIC faculty have joined a global community of 140+ researchers, educators and students as petitioners in a letter urging Francis Gurry, Director General for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), to provide increased guidance to WIPO’s 190+ Member States on the ongoing and emerging intellectual property issues in the race to contain the spread of, and discover a vaccine for, Coronavirus. 

The letter, drafted by faculty at the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University Washington College of Law, recommends a number of steps for Gurry to consider in WIPO’s COVID-19 directive to its members. The steps include:

  1. Encouraging all WIPO member states to take advantage of flexibilities in the international system that permit uses of intellectual property-protected works for online education, for research and experimental uses, and for vital public interests, such as access to medicine and culture;
  2. Calling on all right holders to remove licensing restrictions that inhibit remote education, research (including for text and data mining and artificial intelligence projects) and access to culture, including across borders, both to help address the global pandemic, and in order to minimise the disruption caused by it;
  3. Supporting the call by Costa Rica for the World Health Organization to create a global pool of rights in COVID-19 related technology and data, as well as promoting the use of the Medicines Patents Pool, voluntary licensing, intellectual property pledges, compulsory licensing, use of competition laws, and other measures to eliminate barriers to the competitive global manufacture, distribution and sale of potentially effective products to detect, prevent, and treat COVID-19; and
  4. Supporting countries’ rights to enact and use exceptions to trade secret and other intellectual property rights needed to facilitate greater access to manufacturing information, cell lines, confidential business information, data, software, product blueprints, manufacturing processes, and other subject matter needed to achieve universal and equitable access to COVID-19 medicines and medical technologies as soon as reasonably possible.”

We believe that efforts by the science and the broader medical community to find cure for Coronavirus are only bolstered by a responsive regional and global IP system. CLIC faulty are proud to be counted among the 140+ petitioners advocating for these recommendations to WIPO leadership. 

To view the letter, visit: