World I.P. Day

COVID patent

Today, April 26, 2022, is World I.P. Day, where the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized department of the United Nations, focuses attention on educating the public on all aspects of intellectual property rights and regimes. The theme this year is “IP and Youth.” This blog posting, however, will focus on COVID-19, and specifically vaccine patent development.

COVID-19 vaccine, source: World Intellectual Property Organization, Mar. 10, 2022

WIPO released a patent landscape report, “COVID-19-related vaccines and therapeutics,” in March 2022, which analyzed data from new Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application filings directed toward COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Some key observations include:

  • The top five countries where the patent applicants for vaccine patent applications were located are, in order: China, U.S., Russia, Great Britain, and India.
  • The top five countries where the patent applicants for therapeutic patent applications were located are, in order: China, U.S., India, Republic of Korea (South), and Russia.
  • Protein-based vaccines were 46% of the new applications, while novel technologies were 35%, viral vector vaccines were 23%, and RNA-based vaccines were 12%;
  • Most COVID-19 drug formulations are repurposed from existing drugs;
  • Small molecule and biologic drugs are the main types of therapeutics;
  • New patent filings for viral vector and mRNA vaccines are the second biggest category in patent data sets;
  • mRNA vaccines remain the second biggest in clinical trial data sets;
  • There were more co-applicants in the PCT COVID-19-related data sets than in typical PCT application filings;
  • More COVID-19-related PCT filings were by universities and research centers as at least one co-applicant, rather than private sector companies.

The data for this report was gathered from new PCT applications filed as of September 2021, or 18 months after the start of official start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020. (For those who are unfamiliar with foreign patent practice, PCT applications are published after 18 months during the international phase.)

Additional data will be released in an updated report after September 2022, which corresponds to the 30-month national phase entry deadline for the first COVID-19-related PCT applications.

For more information on patents and foreign patent practice, please contact Yonaxis I.P. Law Group.