THE CORONAVIRUS AND SMALL BUSINESS LAW SERIES
This blog post series provides key legal information so you can secure your business success during the Coronavirus pandemic. With this knowledge, you can return to what you do best which is providing your service or product.
Today’s topic: The Emergence of Patent Heroes during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Yes, you heard me right: Patent Heroes.
I’ve spent over twenty years helping creators protect their innovation. As a patent attorney, that’s what I do best.
At the present time, protection looks very different.
In fact, the exclusivity of patent rights could slow down the global fight to stop coronavirus. This blog post celebrates the innovators selflessly contributing to the battle.
“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” Maya Angelou
Topic #4: The Emergence of Patent Heroes
Let’s Start with the Basics: What is a Patent?
A patent is a contract of disclosure and exclusion.
It is an agreement with a government in which property rights are granted.
The patent owner can exclude everyone else from making, using, and selling the invention for a period of time.
In exchange, the patent must enable others to practice the invention once the patent expires.
What Kinds Of Inventions Can Be Patented?
The invention or design must be new, useful, and non-obvious.
Categories of protectable inventions include:
- Utility patent: protects a process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter
- Design patent: protects an ornamental product design
- Plant patent: protects an asexually reproduced plant variety
The Value of Patent Ownership to our Patent Heroes
“[The value of] intellectual property and patents are in the eye of the beholder.” – Steve Andriole
Why do patents matter?
This visual shows the key reasons:
Notably, patents are an intangible asset that add to the value of your company. In fact, a patent can be leveraged for start-up capital and also as collateral for business loans.
Further, revenue generation is a key value of a patent. Once patented, the inventor can produce and sell it. Some patent owners license their patented technology. Alternatively, others receive litigation awards from copycats of their patent.
Patents also are important in global competition because they provide design freedom. At the same time, patent ownership blocks others from using that technology.
The Coronavirus Patent Heroes
It’s important to realize that companies donating their patents to the coronavirus fight are true “Patent Heroes. ”
Patent Hero Medtronic
What an amazing gift to the world.
Notably, Medtronic has shared its ventilator design specifications with the world.
In it’s March 30, 2020 Press Release, Medtronic “..announced it is publicly sharing the design specifications for the Puritan Bennett™ 560 (PB 560)…”
The Press Release continues: “Medtronic recognizes the acute need for ventilators as life-saving devices in the management of COVID-19 infections. We know this global crisis needs a global response…By openly sharing the PB 560 design information, we hope to increase global production of ventilator solutions for the fight against COVID-19.”
Medtronic’s permissive license includes:
- design and manufacturing information
- documentation and user manuals, and
- software source code and object code.
Kudos to you Medtronic as you are truly a Coronavirus Patent Hero!
Patent Hero AbbVie
According to Fierce Pharma, AbbVie will not enforce global patent rights on all formulations of HIV med Kaletra (Aluvia). This is a drug that is being studied as a coronavirus treatment.
By allowing others to manufacture Kaletra generics, therefore availability could greatly increase.
What does this mean?
Have you ever wondered the difference between a brand drug and a generic of the same drug?
When a company first develops a new drug, they patent the formula. (“brand”) which then gives the company a monopoly for a time period to make and sell the drug. During that period, the patent owner has the freedom to solely profit from their investment. In exchange, the patent describes exactly how to make the drug. When the patent expires, however, other companies can use the the patent description to make the drug. (“generic”) Since they don’t have the high development costs, therefore, the generic cost is less.
AbbVie “giving away” its monopoly of Kaletra is an example of a valuable gift to the world.
AbbVie, in the final analysis, you are a true Coronavirus Patent Hero!
Even More Patent Heroes: The Open COVID Pledge
Recently, a group of scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs and individuals created “The Open COVID Pledge”. In general, this pledge promotes the removal of intellectual property obstacles in the fight against COVID-19.
The “Open COVID Pledge” in general terms invites intellectual property owners to ”pledge to make our intellectual property available free of charge for use in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and minimizing the impact of the disease.”
“Under the Open COVID License, the IP owner grants others a license to make, use, sell and otherwise exploit any technologies that can be used in the fight against COVID-19. This includes, without limitation, diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics and medical equipment.”
Kudos to all of you for being such Collaborative Patent Heroes!
ULTIMATELY, A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL OUR CORONAVIRUS PATENT HEROES! YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION!
CHECK OUT THE OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
Do you need help with securing your success, for example, through Patent Protection? I’m here to help so Contact me here.