The globalized world was not ready for a pandemic, the COVID-19 (C19) has left unforeseen consequences that have affected us in a general way. In response to the health crisis, governments have chosen measures to preserve life, measures that have and will have serious repercussions for everyone, employees and employers, who have and will have lost means of subsistence and wealth.
The Intellectual Property (IP) system plays a fundamental role in the midst of crises and catastrophes, since the solution, as always, is found in human ingenuity, in the ability to provide solutions and new solutions to the problems that concern us.
It is under these circumstances that in search of these solutions, conflicts arise from a legal point of view of “rights”, on the one hand that of the inventors and on the other, the rights of public interest (international humanitarian law when framed in respect for the right to life and health). For example, compulsory licenses as a measure of the state in order to protect the general interests.
This figure is defined as the power of the State to grant patent licenses without the consent of the owner and also supported by the power of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection to “declare of interest in public health drugs, medical devices, vaccines and other technologies in health that are used for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of C19 ”.
Many pharmaceutical companies are researching and developing drugs that can both prevent and treat the virus, research of which the result will be a patent, is that access to medicines affects countries like ours -in the process of development- with little or non-existent production capacity in the pharmaceutical and technological sector, which allows the way to be opened to anti-competitive behavior and prices that are not fair with the consumer. We must not forget that we are in a neoliberal system where, of course, the research of companies seeks their respective remuneration and a strong position in the market. Unfortunately, our national industry does not play an active role in these dynamics at the global level.
I want to emphasize that the solution to a crisis always goes hand in hand with science, technology and innovation.
Although the solution to COVID-19 is not political, the initial decisions are, the duty and challenge of promoting innovation is political. Precisely the situation of COVID-19 and its economic consequences open up opportunities to invest resources and believe that industries can innovate, provide solutions for the country and the entire world.
Waiting for the latest developments from China, the USA and Japan (order of countries that filed the most applications for patent applications to 2019) is not an option.