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Intellectual Property Rights play vital role in battle against COVID-19

The intangible assets of an organisation make it unique. Protection of intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights and patents, is therefore important. W Denis provides specialist insurance for intellectual property rights.

The rapid development of new Covid-19 vaccines and treatments has led to health NGOs and some governments arguing that suspending intellectual property (IP) rights to allow unfettered vaccine manufacture will mean faster access for developing countries. However, experts maintain that IP has played a vital role in every step of vaccine research, manufacturing and distribution.

It is pointed out that IP rights have proven indispensable for the dozens of research consortia and partnerships that have emerged to tackle the virus. IP rights allow potential rivals to cooperate and share valuable proprietary knowledge because they know it is legally protected from misuse. The Pfizer / BioNtech partnership would not have happened without strong IP rights.

The battle against COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of patents to the life sciences industry. The ability to obtain a patent on a potential new drug candidate is likely to be key to decisions about investment and whether to proceed. It is also true that the loss of patent protection for a successful product, possibly following an invalidity ruling, may result in very significant financial losses to the innovator company as the market opens up to the generics.

It can take 10 years or more and a significant financial investment to develop and obtain marketing authorisation to launch a new medicine. With the standard patenting period of 20 years it means that if a patent is obtained early in the development process, the period of patent protection left in which to exploit the product in the market is severely reduced.

Intellectual property insurance is not just for the LifeScience industry. It also plays an important part in other sectors such as - Advertising; Automotive; Consumer Products; Design; Machine Learning; General Manufacturing; Mining & Metals; Oil & Gas; Professional Services; Renewable Energy; Software.

IP insurance can include - Defence against third party breach; Contractual indemnities; Pursuit of third party infringers; Loss of profits; Loss of IP rights.

To discuss this with an expert, contact Daniel.moss@wdenis.co.uk or call +44 (0) 113 243 9812

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