[Ip-health] COVID-19 Patent Controversy | Hong Kong Lawyer

James Love james.love at keionline.org
Wed Apr 8 06:20:49 PDT 2020


http://www.hk-lawyer.org/content/covid-19-patent-controversy

Against the backdrop of the surging Wuhan coronavirus (aka COVID-19) that
has been spreading across China and dozens of other countries around the
world, a patent controversy has emerged involving Gilead Sciences, Inc. (“
*GSI*”, stock symbol GILD, traded on NASDAQ), the US-based original
inventor and patent holder of an unapproved experimental drug named
remdesivir and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (“*WIV*”), a part of the
Chinese Academy of Sciences of the People’s Republic of China, which on
January 21, 2020, with Institute of Military Science, Military Medical
Research Institute, State Emergency Disease Control Medical Control
Engineering Technology Development Center, claimed to have filed a Chinese
patent application entitled “The usage of anti-2019 novel coronavirus”. The
Chinese organizations indicated also that they will file an application
under the Patent Co-operation Treaty (“*PCT*”).

. . .


WIV FILES PATENT APPLICATION

Despite acknowledging intellectual property right barriers to remdesivir,
WIV stated on its website that on January 21, 2020, it had applied for a
Chinese patent for treating COVID-19. WIV stated that its application is in
line with international practice from the perspective of protection of
Chinese national interest. WIV offered that “if relevant foreign companies
intend to contribute to China's epidemic prevention and control, and to the
extent both sides agree, in answering any national needs, to temporarily
suspend implementing the rights claimed by the patent, [we] wish to work
with foreign pharmaceutical companies to control the epidemic using our
modest effort.” The statement in Chinese states:
“如果国外相关企业有意向为我国疫情防控做出贡献,我们双方一致同意在国家需要的情况下,暂不要求实施专利所主张的权利,希望和国外制药公司共同协作为疫情防控尽绵薄之力.”

Without being able to review the actual patent application, we cannot know
what WIV is actually claiming. However, the title of its application
suggests that the scope of the invention is fairly narrow as it seems to be
aimed specifically at treating COVID-19 infections. Notwithstanding the
title, WIV may also assert claims beyond COVID-19. Even without owning
remdesivir, WIV may claim that combining remdesivir and chloroquine or
different combinations of drugs may be effective in treating COVID-19
infections. Then again, it is also possible that WIV is claiming a
different way of treating COVID-19 infections. The answer will be known
when its application is published in about 18 months.

. . .


http://www.hk-lawyer.org/content/covid-19-patent-controversy


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