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AOS Podcast

Is the WTO Jeopardizing Innovation by Failing to Protect IP?

By June 9, 2022April 2nd, 2024No Comments

The innovation we saw play out in the development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines was evidence of the power of modern medicine when combined with the determination of the human spirit. Global collaboration plus investment plus information sharing compressed the time from start to finish from 10-15 years to just one year.

But now that the smoke has started to clear, questions are beginning to arise about the IP associated with those vaccines. How can the world ensure equitable access to vaccines and treatments now and into the future?

In May of 2022, a draft proposal leaked from a few member countries in the World Trade Organization: United States, European Union, India, and South Africa. If the proposal is presented to other member companies on July 7-9 (it has already been delayed from a planned vote on June 9th), we will have the opportunity to see the official wording as well as the response it gets from the rest of the world.

In this week’s Dial P audio podcast, Kelly Barner reviews the interesting complexities surrounding this leaked proposal:

  • Whether equitable access to vaccines and other medical treatments is really at the heart of the proposal, or whether there are other motives at play
  • Why the WTO TRIPS agreement (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) isn’t being invoked even though it contains appropriate allowances for temporary, local IP access in the case of “extreme urgency”
  • What the implications of inconsistently applied IP protections might be for global innovation – in medicine and beyond
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