Chapter 5: Patent pools: A licensing option for medicines and vaccines in times of a crisis?
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This chapter examines a transnational patent pool as a potential substitute for complex multinational R&D collaborations and individual licensing agreements. If a third party wants to use the patented invention, whether they are other pharmaceutical manufacturers, non-profit organisations, hospitals outside clinical trials or government agencies, they need to obtain licences, which the patent holder has the right to refuse, unless there is a situation where a compulsory licence or government order is required to use the invention. The search for effective treatments against COVID-19 and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, coupled with the time and public pressure to deliver results, has pushed the pharmaceutical industry towards new forms of collaboration, such as worldwide sharing and disclosure of research results. The author argues that the patent pool removes the risk that potential licensees and manufacturers will be deterred from investing due to uncertainty about the existence and enforceability of patent rights on the results of research. This is particularly beneficial in situations where medicines and vaccines are composed of a variety of complementary innovations, such as the active ingredient and individual components of the same active ingredient or combinations of active ingredients.

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