Registering Patent Application for Covid-19 medicine, can it? Does it compromise the Public Interest?

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Talking about the Intellectual Property is not only about protecting a product or invention, but also about the exclusivity and economic rights. This has created a dilemma among the research for medicines and vaccines to decrease the spread of COVID-19 since early 2020.

Some pharmaceutical institutions and companies are reportedly reaping the pros and contras of COVID-19 Medicine patent registration because it is considered to favor economic rights rather than healing communities around the world. But the medicine should be reached immediately by anyone who needs it.
Regarding the above matter, as we know that the Intellectual Property is protected by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, namely Directory of General of Intellectual Property, especially handled by Department of Patents, Integrated Circuit Layout Design (DTLST) and Trade Secrets.
Namely, Mrs. Dra. Dede Mia Yusanti M.L.S as Director of Patents, Integrated Circuit Layout Design (DTLST) and Trade Secrets, in response to the above matter, She said that COVID-19 medicine patents can be registered and obtained the Intellectual Property Protection without compromising the public interest.
In the world’s most common patent system, registration and granting of patent protection, for example on medicines and medical equipment patents, there are no restrictions on emergency situations such as COVID-19 pandemic cases currently being faced by almost all countries in the world.
“That is, if the medicine, vaccine or medical equipment meets the criteria of patentability, namely, having novelty, containing inventive step and having industrial applicability, then the product can be patented, even though the medicine is needed generally by the world community in order to overcome this pandemic,” Mrs. Dede said in a statement.
In order for the medicine to be massively available in an emergency, the way out available in the patent system is through the mechanism of Compulsory Licensie and/or Implementation of Patents by the Government (Government Use).
Under the terms of The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement Article 31, it is possible for a country to apply for a compulsory license or Government use, especially in health-related emergencies where in this situation it is possible to exercise a patent without the permission of the patent owner.
In Indonesia, said Mrs. Dede, in Patent Law No. 13 of 2016, compulsory license and patent implementation by the government has been regulated where in the Patent Law states the government can carry out patents without the permission of the patent holder in urgent situations including to produce pharmaceutical and/or biotechnology products that are expensive and/or necessary to overcome diseases that can result in sudden death in large numbers, cause significant defects, and constitute a World Unsettling Public Health Emergency (KKMMD). Thus, the inventor of the medicine will still get his economic rights and his creation protected.
“If you look at this provision, of course the COVID-19 pandemic situation meets the requirements for the government to take steps to provide the necessary medicines for treatment through government use mechanisms,” she explained.
What about the registration?
The process of registering both medicine and vaccine patents related to pandemic according to Mrs. Dede will follow other patent registration process.
Each patent application must meet the requirements and processes that apply i.e. the process of formality examination, publication, and substantive examination must be proceeded. However, the patent protection has begun since application is filed and receives the filing date even though the granting of the patent will be granted after the process.
“In accordance with the applicable Law it is possible for the applicant to submit an accelerated publication so that the process from submission to completion of the examination can be conducted more quickly. However, this provision applies generally not only to urgent circumstances,” Mrs. Dede said.
In times of pandemic, as one of the oldest and largest Intellectual Property Consulting Office in Indonesia, Am Badar & Partners has assured that during this pandemic, our professional team will be always availabe to explain and handle the Intellectual Property related matters in Indonesia and abroad and the Client’s instruction shall keep being our primary concerned which will be handled comprehensively and with utmost care.
We hope that this pandemic will be soon over and we are always in good health. If there is any other query to be further consulted on Patents, Trademarks, and other fields related to Intellectual Property, please do not hesitate to contact us either by e-mail, facsimile, or telephone.

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