IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON IPR

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COVID-19 pandemic has affected throughout the world. Various industries are trying hard to overcome this economic turmoil. Everyone is suffering through this, which may include continent, country, province, state and individual. However, this pandemic has also affected the protection of intellectual property rights i.e. both existing and in the process of getting protection. 

In general, IPR right holders have been granted protection over their intellectual property so that third parties cannot use or avail benefit out of this. This pandemic has changed the situation where many IPR holders are being forced to allow third parties if these are in the interest of the public at charge for a temporary period to use their IPR which may be patent or design. 

Suspension of Intellectual Property rights

Medical devices and medicinal products are protected by patent which gives the legal right to particular companies to prohibit the use of the same. A patent has been granted to a particular person for several years to protect their invention that is unique after investing time and money in the creation of such intellectual property. 

Wherein COVID-19 has created the circumstances in which the production of essentials equipment and medical supplies is important. There is an increasing demand for manufacturing of essential medical products which may include masks, ventilators and other protective equipment as may be needed. 

Steps taken by IP offices

Several countries have taken different steps according to their nation's condition during the pandemic. The IP office of India has passed guidelines that they will not accept any filings until the nationwide lockdown is lifted. All the deadlines related to intellectual property will be extendable with petitions. 

Research challenges 

  1. The main and foremost challenge is finding a cure for acute respiratory pneumonia caused by COVID 19. The cure has initiated the R&D efforts at large scale. 
  2. This pandemic has created an increasing demand for development of diagnostic testing kits with actual & high accuracy and manufacturing at large scale as well. 
  3. Due to this disease, large numbers of patients are required to get treated, so there is a need for a large space in ICU, ventilators, hospital beds and other medical devices. 
  4. In this pandemic period, digital innovation is needed as per the circumstances and it may include digital monitoring and understanding the point that the virus is spreading across populations. 
  5. COVID 19 has caused a high demand for medical staff also as an increasing number of patients need more doctors, nurses along with equipment specialists. Protective clothing, goggles, gloves, face shields are required for the protection of health care from infection.

Encouraging innovation during this pandemic - 

Invention - Despite not getting better opportunities by staying at home for innovation during this pandemic, we can still find something to invent. There are so many areas which require invention towards this crisis, the invention can be done for the development of critical products which are helpful in this pandemic. Because Intellectual Property activities are not normal these days. During COVID 19 demand for crisis critical products has increased unexpectedly. Existing firms are not able to meet their demands so this is a great chance for invention as well as a step towards public health. 

Intellectual Property Licensing – Crisis Critical products are manufactured by companies when they get a license and share it with other partners also. Generally, they don’t share their license but to fulfil the needs during pandemic companies can share licenses among themselves and manufacture Crisis Critical products on a large scale. 

Intellectual Property Pools - Crisis Critical Intellectual Property tools is an approach to avoid delays in the pandemic. Crisis Critical Intellectual Property is now available to all the firms that are interested to use that intellectual property. A formal approach for the government is to provide facilities for the development of patent tools which have already been used in the pharmaceutical industry.