The AIPLA and other IP organizations have issued a joint statement on a tentative TRIPS waiver compromise. On March 15, 2022, Adam Hodge, USTR spokesperson stated, in part:
Since last May, USTR has worked hard to facilitate an outcome
on intellectual property that can achieve consensus across the 164 Members of
the World Trade Organization to help end the pandemic. USTR joined informal
discussions led by the WTO Secretariat with South Africa, India, and the
European Union (EU) to try to break the deadlock.
The difficult and protracted process has resulted in a
compromise outcome that offers the most promising path toward achieving a
concrete and meaningful outcome. While no agreement on text has been reached
and we are in the process of consulting on the outcome, the U.S. will continue
to engage with WTO Members as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s
comprehensive effort to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many
people as fast as possible.
I wonder how Russia's invasion of Ukraine impacted the consensus building. The Joint Statement provides:
JOINT STATEMENT ON TENTATIVE TRIPS WAIVER COMPROMISE
Written March 28, 2022
On March 24, AIPLA, along with the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), Licensing Executives Society International (LESI), Licensing Executives Society USA & Canada, and the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) issued a joint statement on the tentative TRIPs Waiver Compromise. Our organizations are concerned by reports that the European Union, India, South Africa, and the United States have reached a tentative compromise on a proposed TRIPS waiver of intellectual property (IP) rights. We strongly support equitable, widespread and successful distribution of vaccines necessary to meet the challenges of COVID-19. However, the proposal currently being reported incorrectly portrays IP as a barrier to production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines. Our organizations know of no evidence to support that IP is such a barrier. In fact, the World Health Organization has stated: “[w]ith global vaccine production now at nearly 1.5 billion doses per month, there is enough supply to achieve our targets, provided they are distributed equitably. This is not a supply problem; it’s an allocation problem.”1 Solving the allocation problem is best accomplished by focusing on improvements to supply chain and distribution issues, rather than by concentrating on the red herring of intellectual property as an alleged barrier. Intellectual property has been critical to the development of technology that has enabled a global COVID-19 response and it continues to fuel efforts to more effectively distribute vaccines and advance other needed technology. We should not undermine our ability to respond to this and future pandemics.
Footnote 1: See https://www.who.int/campaigns/vaccine-equity (accessed on 18 March 2022).