Rajesh Vellakkat, ‘IP Waiver during COVID Pandemic – Salvage or Apostacy?’

ABSTRACT
This article explains an IP waiver will have a limited impact on meeting the emergency medical requirements. That being so why are countries like India and South Africa putting extreme diplomatic efforts to succeed in this Patent waiver initiative? There is no clear answer. I tempt believe, more than seeking an immediate relief, it is an apostolic behaviour towards this rotten IP regime. I wish it leads to a larger debate on Intellectual Property rights and inequities of the IP regime and the TRIPs agreement. Many, including me, believe that the TRIPS agreement merely provided an advantage to industrialized countries. It has only helped in intellectual colonisation. TRIPs enslaved poor and underdeveloped countries and consistently made them dependant on the mercy of larger industrialized economies for technologies. It retarded innovation in less privileged economies.

The current patent system is facilitating the evergreening of patent protection. Creating patent thickets, pooling the patents, generating unfair advantage for themselves and depriving an equal opportunity to new entrants and startups. Many say that the duration of a patent granted is more than what is proportionate to the economic value of the effort. We need to remember that patent as a concept evolved as a reward for disclosure for facilitating further innovation. However, over a period of time, it has become a tool to impose monopoly and prevent competition. In many sectors, technology becomes obsolete in less than five years and granting a patent for 20 years is merely helping to prevent new technology innovations. Yes, discussion on patent waiver helps in creating a platform for discussion for overhauling the IP regime. If that is the real intent, then worth appreciation on that count.

Vellakkat, Rajesh, IP Waiver during COVID Pandemic – Salvage or Apostacy? (June 7, 2021).

First posted 2021-06-25 09:00:15

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