Q&A with Julia Spencer, MSD: Global Diffusion of Molnupiravir

Innovation Council sat down with Julia Spencer, Associate Vice President for Global Multilateral Engagement & Strategic Alliances at MSD, to discuss the development, manufacture, and broad global diffusion of the company’s COVID-19 therapeutic, molnupiravir. The interview touches on a range of topics, including the risks taken by innovators to scale manufacturing as rapidly as possible, voluntary licensing and the establishment of global production networks to ensure adequate global supply, the critical importance of demand forecasting, and factors such as lack of testing that impacted the uptake of molnupiravir in some countries.

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Innovation Council Q&A with Dr. Axel Braun

In this Innovation Council Q&A, Dr. Braun — a former Swiss and European patent attorney — discusses the challenges of legal certainty and innovation risks within the context of patenting genetic resources and traditional knowledge and how this might with the IGC negotiations. He offers a unique perspective on the potential impacts on R&D and patent validity, highlighting the critical balance needed between transparency, legal harmonization, and innovation incentives.

Click here to read our Q&A.

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Innovation Council Q&A with Syngenta Seeds

In this Innovation Council Q&A with Olivier Sauvageot of Syngenta, key issues around WIPO’s IGC negotiations on IP and genetic resources are discussed. Sauvageot, an experienced patent attorney, delves into the complexities of patenting in agriculture, highlighting the challenge of defining and managing genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. He underscores the potential impact on R&D, patent validity, and innovation, while advocating for clear, fair, and effective IP frameworks.

Click here to read our Q&A.

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Innovation Lightbulb newsletter – update on the CHIPS and Science Act

This blog by the Center for Strategic and International Studies presents data relating to the United States’ CHIPS and Science Act. The authors argue that there is not enough funding approved to date, with billions of dollars missing from what was expected. They express concerns that this situation, if left unchecked, may affect the US competitive position in relation to critical high tech sectors.

Click here to read the full blog.

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New EU Regulatory Regime for SEPs Will Upend Mobile Telecommunications Sector

This article from IP scholar Adam Mossoff presents the proposed EU SEP Regulation, which is due to
be released on 26 April by DG GROW.

According to Mossoff, the leaked SEP Regulation would be counterproductive to a range of European
goals, including ongoing innovation in cellular technology and a central role in standardization. He
points out that available evidence suggests that, at best, the SEP Regulation is unnecessary – and
that, at worst, it could stunt innovation and economic growth in the EU in the years to come.

A concern raised by the author is that the EUIPO has no previous patent law experience, yet the SEP
Regulation plans to hand full control of important SEP issues to the EUIPO. The EUIPO would
determine what patents are able to be classed as essential, thus, SEPs, along with the appropriate
royalty rates for licensing such SEPs, in addition to mandating public disclosure of licensing
agreements. Furthermore, it would also be able to prohibit licensing or litigation of SEPs that have
not been confirmed as essential, that have not been registered, or that have set a different royalty
rate for the relevant SEPs.

The author argues that, if adopted, the SEP Regulation would destabilize the global
telecommunications market as well as strongly favouring IP users over innovators.

Furthermore, Mossoff notes that this type of regulation could be advantageous for China, which
could leverage it to continue discriminatory treatment against Western innovators in cellular
technology. Overall, he expresses concern that the new EU SEP Regulation would negatively affect
technological innovation and economic growth in the EU by destroying incentives for SEP owners to
continue investing in R&D and participating in open standardization processes.

Click here to read the full article:

New EU Regulatory Regime for SEPs will Upend Mobile Telecommunications Sector, by Adam
Mossoff, 12 April 2023, IPWatchdog.

For further reading, additional resources about the leaked SEP Regulation include:

The European Commission’s SEP licensing plans are terrible on every level, by Joff Wild, 30 March
2023, IAM.

Exclusive: EU patent body to oversee tech-standard patent royalties – EU draft rule, by Foo Yun
Chee, 28 March 2023, Reuters.

European Commission departs from best practices in hasty preparation of standard-essential patent
policy proposal that is fundamentally flawed and unbalanced, by Florian Mueller, 29 March 2023,
FOSS Patents.

European Commission to propose radical new SEP/FRAND regime with major consequences for
patent owners, by Adam Houldsworth, 29 March 2023, IAM.

European Commission set to give EUIPO responsibility for standard essential patents: big challenges
lie ahead, by Trevor Little, 29 March 2023, World Trademark Review.

Proposed EU SEP regulation will also harm net licensees: implementers of standard-essential patents
must be careful what they wish for, by Florian Mueller, 2 April 2023, FOSS Patents.

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Q&A with Innovation Council Member Sawubona Mycelium

Innovation Council sat down with Neo Moloi, Co-Founder of the innovative South African SME Sawubona Mycelium, to learn more about his company’s fermentation platform for producing biobased ingredients for cosmetics, biopharma, and food. Sawubona Mycelium, a founding member of Innovation Council, is looking to expand into new sectors and markets in the coming years. Read more about their technology solution and journey here.

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Introducing Innovation Council All-Weather Roads Engineering

Innovation Council’s newest member, All-Weather Roads Engineering based in South Africa, commercialises a novel asphaltbinding solution. Here, Emmanuel Mothabi, the company’s founder, shares insights about his company’s invention, impact, and challenges. Click here to read more.

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Geneva Network Analysis of the TRIPS Waiver

In the coming months WTO Members will continue to discuss whether to modify the TRIPS waiver that was agreed in June 2022 to include COVID therapeutics and diagnostics. Geneva Network has prepared a policy brief that explains why it could be counterproductive to expand the scope of the waiver in this way. The brief is authored by Philip Stevens of the Geneva Network and Prof. Mark Schultz, Director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Program at the University of Akron School of Law.

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Villgro Africa: helping health startups take their ideas to market

WIPO Magazine has recently published an article on Innovation Council member, Villgro Africa, and how they are helping health startups take their ideas to market.

Villgro Africa is a Nairobi-based business incubator and early-stage investor focusing on health and life sciences. Dr Robert Karanja, the incubator’s Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder, explains how Villgro Africa is working to transform Africa’s innovation landscape and helping startups take their ideas to market.

Click here for the full story.

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