Deep Dive Episode 177 – Patents and Pandemics: Innovation Policy and the Patent Waiver Petition at the WTO

India and South Africa have submitted a petition to the World Trade Organization seeking a waiver of all intellectual property rights under international treaties on drugs, vaccines, or other responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This waiver petition has provoked an intense policy debate over the role of intellectual property in healthcare innovation.

On the one hand, advocates for the waiver argue that patents have been a blockade for patient access and created higher prices, especially in developing countries. On the other hand, opponents of the waiver maintain that there is no evidence that patents are blocking drug development or distribution for the COVID-19 pandemic. The opponents also maintain that patents made possible over the past several decades the R&D investments, the creation of technical know-how, and the commercial agreements that have been the launching pad for the unprecedented development of several vaccines and other medical treatments in less than a year.

This live podcast features experts in innovation policy on both sides of the issue debating the role of patents in medical care and how the United States should respond to the waiver petition.

Subscribe to RTP’s Fourth Branch Podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.

Richard Blaylock


Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Brian O’Shaughnessy

Partner, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP and

Past President, Licensing Executives Society, USA & Canada

Hans Sauer

Deputy General Counsel and Vice President for Intellectual Property

Biotechnology Industry Organization

Paul Michel

Chief Judge (ret.)

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Intellectual Property

Get RTP content in your inbox!

Sign up now to stay up-to-date on all RTP content and events.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.