JOINT STATEMENT ON TENTATIVE TRIPS WAIVER COMPROMISE
Written March 28, 2022
On March 24, AIPLA, along with the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), Licensing Executives Society International (LESI), Licensing Executives Society USA & Canada, and the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) issued a joint statement on the tentative TRIPs Waiver Compromise. Our organizations are concerned by reports that the European Union, India, South Africa, and the United States have reached a tentative compromise on a proposed TRIPS waiver of intellectual property (IP) rights. We strongly support equitable, widespread and successful distribution of vaccines necessary to meet the challenges of COVID-19. However, the proposal currently being reported incorrectly portrays IP as a barrier to production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines. Our organizations know of no evidence to support that IP is such a barrier. In fact, the World Health Organization has stated: “[w]ith global vaccine production now at nearly 1.5 billion doses per month, there is enough supply to achieve our targets, provided they are distributed equitably. This is not a supply problem; it’s an allocation problem.”1 Solving the allocation problem is best accomplished by focusing on improvements to supply chain and distribution issues, rather than by concentrating on the red herring of intellectual property as an alleged barrier. Intellectual property has been critical to the development of technology that has enabled a global COVID-19 response and it continues to fuel efforts to more effectively distribute vaccines and advance other needed technology. We should not undermine our ability to respond to this and future pandemics.
Footnote 1: See https://www.who.int/campaigns/vaccine-equity (accessed on 18 March 2022).