The European Commission is seeking clarification about the US government’s unexpected support for patenting coronavirus vaccines to boost global supply. According to those involved, Brussels is wary of this, and the suspension of these patents could have consequences for copyright and other protected intellectual property.
Also, European Union countries are not compatible with issuing the Covid-19 patents. France, for example, supports it, but Germany opposes it. The committee needs a mandate from 27 countries if the issue is to lead to negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Insiders say unanimous approval isn’t necessary for this, but it would send a better signal.
At a meeting of the World Trade Organization this week in Geneva, the US Trade Representative surprisingly said that he supported the “waiver decision” because “the special circumstances of the Covid-19 epidemic call for special measures.” Until now, the United States, like the European Union, Japan and the United Kingdom did not want to hear about the issuance of these patents as suggested by South Africa and India. Brussels wants to know exactly what the United States means by the statement.
The European Union daily administration immediately said in response that the issue is open for discussion, but experts are hesitant. They say issuing a patent is not the only solution to protect the world’s population from Covid-19 as soon as possible. In addition, the WTO negotiations can take months. The current international agreements on patents, trademarks and copyrights, among others, came in 1994 after eight years of arduous negotiations.
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