Bayh-Dole Coalition Statement on WTO Decision to Suspend Global IP Rights

Bayh-Dole Coalition Statement on WTO Decision to Suspend Global IP Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 17, 2022) — Today, the Bayh-Dole Coalition issued the following statement following the World Trade Organization’s decision to waive intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines at its 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

“At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, life science companies, research universities, and federal laboratories answered the U.S. government’s call to develop lifesaving vaccines in record time. They did that because the Bayh-Dole system has proved that the U.S. government is a reliable, trustworthy partner.

“That’s why it’s so disappointing that the Biden administration, which has benefitted from the swift, revolutionary actions of American researchers and industry, has joined efforts with our competitors to give their discoveries away.

“Ironically, the suspension of the WTO TRIPS waiver will do nothing to address the vaccine hesitancy or on-the-ground logistical challenges that have led to low vaccination rates in some developing countries. It will, however, impede the development of life-saving technologies across all IP-intensive sectors.

“Our leaders are well-aware that public-private partnerships drive economic growth. So, it’s incomprehensible that the U.S. government would send this signal to industry partners, especially now, with the economy on the precipice of a recession.

“This decision sends a dangerous message to all industries. If the federal government can void the IP protections on technologies needed to fight a pandemic, there’s little to stop them from doing the same for those needed to feed a hungry world, protect our environment, or develop reliable energy sources.

“Such a precedent will weaken our nation’s ability to react to all manner of crises — and citizens of the world will suffer because of it.”

About the Bayh-Dole Coalition: The Bayh-Dole Coalition is a diverse group of research and scientific organizations, as well as those directly involved in commercializing new products, dedicated to protecting the Bayh-Dole Act and educating policymakers about the positive impacts of the legislation.