Wendy Ward Discusses COVID Patent Litigation Trend in Managing IP

Green Griffith partner Wendy Ward spoke with Managing IP to discuss recent COVID-related lawsuits and their potential impact on future patent litigation.

Green Griffith partner Wendy Ward recently offered her perspective to Managing IP in discussing two COVID-related patent lawsuits, and the impact these suits might have on future patent litigation.

Biotech company Allele recently filed lawsuits against Pfizer and Regeneron, claiming that the two companies each infringed one of its patents in their development of COVID interventions.

Pfizer is working on a potential vaccine, while Regeneron has created an experimental antibody cocktail. Neither company sought a license from Allele before using a protein technology it had developed.

Legal experts have differing opinions on whether these lawsuits might mark the beginning of a wave of patent litigation over technologies related to COVID-19.

Wendy Ward told Managing IP that she believes this wave of patent litigation is to be expected as companies develop IP related to COVID vaccines and therapies. Wendy added that she anticipates a rise in the number of COVID-related patent lawsuits.

The article notes that Pfizer and Regeneron might have a ready defense against the Allele suits, based on a safe harbor provision in US Code which allows for the use of otherwise protected techniques in preparing submissions for FDA approval.

With respect to the safe harbor, Wendy indicated that the case law that has developed so far around research tools has left unanswered questions, and this case could clarify what specific research activities would qualify for safe harbor protection.

Wendy M. Ward

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