Could intellectual property concerns slow the response to COVID-19?

08 April 2020


A new paper from IfM and University of Cambridge researchers explores how to avoid IP-related delays in the pandemic response.


Amongst the many challenges during a pandemic, innovation stakeholders and manufacturing firms find themselves suddenly engaged in new relationships, including with firms that were competitors before the pandemic. This throws up a number of concerns around intellectual property (IP).


To government, this may appear a less urgent issue, compared to the many huge operational challenges to deploy urgently needed resources. However, if IP issues are considered too late, they could cause delays to mobilising resources effectively, and put manufacturing firms off of engaging in the development and mass manufacturing of crisis-critical products.


This working paper analyses the currently unfolding COVID-19 pandemic and provides an initial discussion of potential response measures to reduce IP associated risks among industrial stakeholders.


These include four main groups: (1) governments, (2) organisations owning existing crisis-critical IP, (3) manufacturing firms from other sectors who are moving into the production of crisis-critical products, and (4) voluntary grassroot initiatives.


This paper discusses IP challenges related to the development and manufacturing of technologies and products for (1) prevention (of spread), (2) diagnosis of infected patients and (3) the development of treatments.




For further information please contact:

Jason Naselli