The Market Institute’s Charles Sauer is out with a new piece on the importance of patent rights in the context of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. He contends that the company that develops a vaccine must be rewarded and protected with strong property rights.
“Innovators need to be rewarded for innovating – and if the government steals the innovation – then that award is being stolen. There aren’t many times when we can actually point to the constitution in public policy issue, but this is one of those. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution actually lays out the rights for inventors – and their isn’t a footnote in the constitution as laid out by our founders that states “unless the invention is really important”.”
Government leaders are already discussing ways to ‘take over’ the vaccine using the Bayh-Dole Act, passed over 40 years ago.
“March-In rights state that when the government manufactures – or has a subcontractor manufacture – an innovation that is patented that the patentee has recourse and can recover reasonable compensation. In fact, recipients of March-In rights are to be granted license terms that are “reasonable”.”
Any confiscation of a COVID-19 by the government will result in irreparable damage to the innovation ecosystem. Innovators need incentives (patents) to innovate, plain and simple.