COVID-19 Intellectual Property Waiver: Threats to U.S. Innovation, Economic Growth, and National Security   [open pdf - 281KB]

From the Document: "The COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic, as well as growing economic and strategic competition from China and other traditional competitors such as Russia, have made 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 (WTO). The Biden Administration should retract its support for the continuing negotiations of the IP waiver, and, if it fails to do so, then Congress should refuse to enact any implementing legislation of this waiver of the international commitment to honor the protection of IP rights. Commentary about the proposed IP waiver at the WTO originally focused on its theft of patents for vaccines and other medical treatments for the COVID-19 virus. As Heritage Foundation Research Fellow James Roberts explained recently, the IP waiver would facilitate the global theft of the patents that made possible the private investments necessary in creating new technologies like the mRNA [messenger ribonucleic acid] vaccines that were invented and mass produced in unprecedented time. The IP waiver would obliterate international protection for patent rights while leaving unaddressed the real problems that are impeding global distribution of vaccines to those who still need these vital medicines--problems such as eliminating the trade restrictions prohibiting international distribution of vaccines and creating distribution and transportation infrastructures in the developing world necessary to distribute the vaccines in those countries."

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The Heritage Foundation Legal Memorandum No. 290
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