Welcome to Skilled in the Art. I’m Law.com IP reporter Scott Graham. As the world searches for vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for COVID-19, I’m hearing a lot of questions about the role of patents. Are they getting in the way of solutions? Inspiring them? Can the government commandeer patented technology if it’s in the national interest? Drs. Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin famously passed on the opportunity to patent their polio vaccines (though there’s some debate today as to the patentability of the Salk vaccine). Is it conceivable that a COVID-19 breakthrough would likewise be gifted to the public? I’m convening a roundtable of IP experts to address these questions. In keeping with the times, we’re doing it virtually.

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Dr. Jonas Salk (Photo: SAS)

Q&A: Do Patents Have a Place With COVID-19?