Patent Law: New COVID-19 Testing Hurdle?

by: The Knowledge Group

May 26, 2020


Should any one firm hold full intellectual property rights over COVID-19 antibodies and tests to detect them? Such a scenario might seem unlikely, but exclusive control over licensing diagnostic tests does happen. This is why the U.S. Supreme Court has held that patent applicants must show an “inventive concept” to receive approval. A monopoly over the art of detecting the coronavirus could place a socially intolerable degree of influence in just a few hands, and thwart government efforts to make the tests available to anyone who needs them.

On the other side of the coin, Senators Chris Coons and Thom Tillis have proposed a new provision to broaden the definition of a patent-eligible subject matter. There’s an argument that the Coons-Tillis bill offers potential incentives for research and development of a COVID-19 test. The argument holds that this vital R&D needs patent protection so that it becomes an investment, thus, able to attract the necessary support. 

The debate on IP and diagnostic testing continues to unfold, and everyone is keeping an eye on it.

There’s Just So Much at Stake

For companies and innovators, implementing a patent strategy that addresses the impact of COVID-19 will spell the difference between missed and used opportunities.

Join us in a live webcast on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 12:00 pm (ET). We’ll offer Effective Solutions and Best Practices in Managing Patent Portfolios which you can utilize in these times of legal and market volatility. Patent law expert Juliana Melo will explain key strategies for designing and implementing a robust IP portfolio management approach. Other pressing topics to discuss? Big data and its impact on intellectual property stewardship; regulatory changes impacting corporate patent applications.