IP Protection for Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is rapidly evolving to provide accurate information and solutions to problems. AI solutions can be extremely useful in many fields of endeavor.

There are various components and aspects of such systems. Currently, there is some uncertainty – especially with respect to patent protection – as to how intellectual property (IP) rights can be used to protect those components along with the outputs of AI systems.

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Slideshow: Innovation and the COVID-19 Response

On 26 November 2021 the new research report about the role that intellectual property played in the development, manufacturing, and global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics was launched in Geneva. The report was co-authored by Innovation Council’s very own Jennifer Brant, and Prof. Mark Schultz.

The report is available here, along with a slideshow of the research project.

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Unprecedented – The Rapid Innovation Response to COVID-19 and the Role of Intellectual Property

Jennifer Brant, Director of Innovation Council, will present a recent research report that she co-authored about the constructive role played by IP rights in the rapid development and manufacturing of COVID-19 solutions. Jetane Charsley, Head of NIPMO, will host the event and lead a moderated discussion.

Tuesday, May 10 / 01:00 PM Johannesburg (CET)

Click here to register for this event.

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BioNTech to supply modular vaccine plants to African countries

The German company BioNTech announced on February 16th its plans to supply modular plants to make mRNA vaccines to Rwanda, Senegal and, potentially, South Africa. This announcement came ahead of a Europe-Africa summit at which increasing vaccine production in Africa is expected to be a vital topic of discussion. Not only would BioNTech be responsible for the delivery and installation of the modules, but the company said it was prepared to transfer know-how to local partners to enable them to operate independently.

While it had been previously stated that voluntary technology transfers had so far been limited during the pandemic, this was contradicted by research published end-2021, which can be found in an online report

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Bobab discussion about bio-manufacturing in emerging regions

The Innovation Council and Bobab organised a discussion on expanding BioManufacturing production capacity in emerging regions. Biologics, a category of pharmaceuticals which includes products such as vaccines and monoclonal antibody treatments, are quickly becoming among the most important medical products in the world. By combining enabling government policies and technology transfer between innovators and their global partners, it will be possible to improve availability of biologics, increase health security, and enhance scientific and industrial capacity in developing countries.

Click here to see the transcript.

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What’s at stake in COVID-19 jab patent waiver row

Over a year into global COVID-19 vaccination efforts, the question of whether jab formulas ought to be freely available is still unresolved—and undersupplied countries are turning to workarounds.

Here’s a look at the waiver row, with arguments for and against as well as workarounds that have sprung up in the meantime.

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South African Company nears License to sell J. & J. Covid Shot across Africa

The South African drug maker Aspen Pharmacare announced on Tuesday that it was finalizing the first agreement to control production of a Covid-19 vaccine in Africa. The deal, with Johnson & Johnson, would allow Aspen to bottle and market the Johnson & Johnson vaccine across Africa under the brand name Aspenovax.

Aspen would then have the right to determine to whom the vaccine will be sold, in what quantities and at what price. This agreement stops short of giving Aspen rights to produce the drug substance — that is, the actual contents of the vaccine. Instead, Johnson & Johnson will direct other facilities to make the ingredients to send to Aspen for the company to blend into vaccine doses.

Read the full story.

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Unprecedented: The Rapid Innovation Response to COVID-19 and the Role of Intellectual Property

On 26 November the new research report about the role that intellectual property played in the development, manufacturing, and global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics was launched in Geneva. The report was co-authored by Innovation Council’s very own Jennifer Brant, and Prof. Mark Schultz.

The report, along with other materials including an executive summary is available here.

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Policy discussions and actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic

Below we’ve provided a round-up of recent developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Policymakers are working to identify and execute the best policies for pandemic preparedness and healthcare delivery, against a difficult backdrop. Innovators and other actors must step forward to provide their insights and experiences on the ground, whether in relation to IP, trade, regulatory or other types of policies.

African Union backs call to waive IP rights on COVID-19 drugs

The African Union is backing calls for drugmakers to waive some intellectual property rights on COVID-19 medicines and vaccines to speed up their rollout to poor countries.

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Senator calls on Biden to reject COVID IP waiver

Thom Tillis, ranking member of the senate IP subcommittee, has urged US president Joe Biden to oppose ‘harmful’ proposals to waive rights related to COVID-19 vaccines currently in discussions at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

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U.S. Chamber opposes WTO waiver of vaccine intellectual property rights

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it opposed calls for the World Trade Organization to back a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights to speed coronavirus vaccine production in poor countries, calling them “misguided”.

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U.S. Extends Tariff Exclusion on China Virus Supplies 6 Months

The U.S. is extending exclusions on tariffs for face masks, cleaning supplies and other personal protective equipment from China for six months, providing protection against higher costs as the nation fights the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move affects 99 different products, according to a draft of the notice by the U.S. Trade Representative seen by Bloomberg News. The exclusions, extended in December, will now run through the end of September 2021.

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UNCTAD Paper Examines Linkages Between Non-Tariff Measures and SDGs

According to this paper, of all the NTMs adopted in response to the pandemic, almost 60 per cent were put in place to ensure adequate and affordable domestic supplies of medical goods and other essential items to combat the virus.

To minimize potential adverse impacts on trade and sustainability, the paper recommends policymakers first consider whether an NTM is needed or whether there are alternatives, then design high-quality NTMs where they are needed and implement them strategically with full transparency to inform other countries and the private sector of the measure.

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EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Implications for Life Sciences Companies

The widely anticipated EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the Agreement) came into effect on 1 January 2021 after several difficult months of negotiations. The Agreement aims to ease trade barriers resulting from the UK leaving the EU and includes positive developments for life sciences companies. However, according to this article, the Agreement does not address all of the concerns raised by the life sciences industry, and significant gaps and areas for further discussion remain between the EU and the UK as the Agreement is implemented. This Client Alert from 03 March 2021 sets out key aspects of the Agreement for life sciences companies.

Read the full story.


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