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The COVID-19 Intellectual Property Waiver: Threats to US Innovation, Economic Growth, and National Security

Adam Mossoff


The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as growing economic and strategic competition from China and traditional competitors, have made U.S. innovation, economic growth, and national security top policy concerns. All three are threatened by the Biden Administration’s support for the proposed intellectual property (IP) waiver at the World Trade Organization. To achieve global distribution of vaccines, drugs, and other medical treatments in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are numerous actions the U.S. should take instead. The Biden Administration should retract its support for the continuing negotiations of the IP waiver, and—if it fails to do so—Congress should refuse to enact any implementing legislation of this waiver and continue to honor its international commitments to protect IP rights.

Key Takeaways:

1. The IP waiver for COVID-19 medical treatments will result in transfer of valuable patents and trade secrets to global competitors like China and Russia.

2. The IP waiver in the World Trade Organization will obliterate IP rights while not addressing the real problems preventing global distribution of vaccines.

3. If the Administration won’t end its support, Congress should not enact any legislation seeking to implement the goals of the IP waiver in U.S. law.

Read the full report from The Heritage Foundation

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