Covid-19 and CTM


Throughout the past months, colleagues of the CTM-IIPM Lab have been trying to understand the role of intellectual property (IP) in the ongoing pandemic. While there are some obvious IP related issues, e.g. related to vaccine development and diagnostic tests, there are many more subtle IP challenges, such as those related to the various collaborative and open innovation activities that have been initiated during recent weeks across various manufacturing sectors. 

Various new partnerships that have been established, such as the UK ventilator consortium for which the UK government recently launched an IP insurance scheme. The huge dynamics currently at play are impacting established industrial structures, certainly temporary, if not permanently. This all goes hand in hand with IP related challenges and strategic IP choices. New entrants venturing into crisis-critical sectors face IP decisions when repurposing manufacturing capacities to produce crisis-critical products, for which IP is often owned by incumbents. Incumbent firms, who suddenly welcome new entrants into ‘their’ sectors, have to decide how to use IP arrangements with new entrants, maybe to benefit from new entrant’s innovation efforts in a post-pandemic world.

Initial research activities have grown into a portfolio of projects including work to identify crisis-critical innovations during pandemics, development of a crisis typology from an innovation / IP perspective, visual mapping of changing industrial ecosystems with its associated IP challenges and a comparative analysis of IP challenges faced by developed and less-developed countries. CTM-IIPM team members have published a number or articles and blog posts, and has been interviewed and quoted by different news outlets. 

A few key outcomes of the research are available here:  
Tietze, F., P. Vimalnath, L. Aristodemou and J. Molloy (2020). "Crisis-Critical Intellectual Property: Findings from the COVID-19 Pandemic." IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.

Elsen, M., F. Tietze, L. Aristodemou and A. Moerchel (2020). Unpacking the innovation landscape for crisis-critical products, services and technologies in the Covid-19 pandemic. IIPM Blog, University of Cambridge.

Date published

21 August 2020

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