Morris Manning & Martin, LLP

How COVID-19 Could Spur the Government to Seize Patents


As researchers scramble to create treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, the U.S. government may face pressure to ensure a breakthrough is low-priced and widely available by invoking rarely used powers to override patents.

Numerous pharmaceutical companies and research institutions are working on potential treatments to curb the pandemic, but some lawmakers and activists have already started raising concern that patents on such a discovery could either make it difficult to access or prohibitively expensive.

The mechanisms at the government’s disposal have been used so rarely that, even in a pandemic, it will likely take a special set of factors for them to come into play. But attorneys believe that life sciences companies should proceed as though it’s not outside the realm of possibility, even if it’s unclear exactly how it would work in practice.

Ping Wang and John Murray were called for comment on this issue. Read the full article here. Law360 membership required.