The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered doors of organizations large and small, slashed jobs, and seen local businesses circle wagons in the fight to survive – and that’s not even referencing families impacted by loss. As the United States sits in quarantine, some of our “highest” institutions of higher learning are refusing to rest on laurels in the fight against COVID-19.
Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University created the “COVID-19 Technology Access Framework,” which is aimed at developing licensing principles founded in equal access to and rapid deployment of technology intended for the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.
“The coronavirus pandemic demands that institutions and companies worldwide step up to answer the call for solutions that may spare lives, without delay. By our commitment to the COVID-19 Technology Access Framework, we are taking steps to incentivize the mobilization of lifesaving innovations and resources during a time of urgent need,” noted Isaac T. Kohlberg, Harvard’s Senior Associate Provost and Chief Technology Development Officer.
Shortly after the trio issued initial support for the framework, other universities soon followed suit. Broad Institute, Cornell University, Georgetown University, University of Maryland, College Park, University of South Alabama, Virginia Commonwealth University and Yale University are taking part to put an end to the pandemic.
Michael Crair, Yale’s vice provost for research, William Ziegler III Professor of Neuroscience, and professor of ophthalmology & visual science. “Fighting this pandemic requires cooperation and coordination amongst all levels of academic, corporate and government partners, and barriers imposed by intellectual property or licensing agreements have no place in limiting our response to this global crisis.”
From tracking COVID-19 to treating the virus, this pandemic is shifting the paradigm. The COVID-19 Technology Access Framework is embracing the philanthropic mindset in putting humanity first. The best and the brightest minds are working to mend our world, learn more about how below.
All signing institutions posted the below statement publicly:
We strongly believe that while intellectual property rights can often serve to incentivize the creation of new products, such rights should not become a barrier to addressing widespread, urgent and essential health-related needs. To address the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are each implementing technology transfer strategies to allow for and incentivize rapid utilization of our available technologies that may be useful for preventing, diagnosing and treating COVID-19 infection during the pandemic. To achieve our common goal, we each individually commit to the following guidelines:
- We are committed to implementing COVID-19 patenting and licensing strategies that are consistent with our goal of facilitating rapid global access. For most types of technologies, this includes the use of rapidly executable non-exclusive royalty-free licenses to intellectual property rights that we have the right to license, for the purpose of making and distributing products to prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19 infection during the pandemic and for a short period thereafter. In return for these royalty-free licenses, we are asking the licensees for a commitment to distribute the resulting products as widely as possible and at a low cost that allows broad accessibility during the term of the license.
- We are committed to making vigorous efforts to achieve alignment among all stakeholders in our intellectual property, including research sponsors, to facilitate broad and rapid access to technologies that have been requested to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We are committed to making any technology transfer transactions related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic our first priority, and to minimizing any associated administrative burdens.