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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Briefings

Patent law: Appropriate balance between private and public interests in times of coronavirus crisis

6 April 2020

Patent protection in pharma and healthcare has always been a matter of intense debate. In the context of coronavirus (Covid-19), the debate about the right balance between justified exclusivity and the public interest in any progress in scientific (pharmaceutical) research becomes even more urgent. Here, patent law must reconcile different interests: On the one hand, it must reward inventors in order to encourage them to make new innovations, while ensuring on the other hand that the general public and not only a few privileged individuals benefit from the inventions. Outside times of crisis, the patent system has proved its worth and has always provided for an appropriate balance between the various interests. However, will this assessment also hold true for the coronavirus crisis or will adjustments be required?

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