Companies Pledge To Forego IP Rights For Covid Projects
May 14, 2020
Sixteen Japanese companies, including Toyota, Honda and Canon, as well as two major diagnostic firms that provide Covid-19 testing, have signed a pledge declaring they would not “assert any patent, utility model, design or copyright during the time of this crisis, against any activities whose purpose is stopping the spread of COVID-19, including diagnosis, prevention, containment and treatment.” The goal, according to Hisao Yamasaki, one of the idea’s originators, is to reduce the time and money companies working on covid-related projects need to spend investigating possible infringement issues and securing licenses. A somewhat similar plan has been launched in the U.S., and there has been discussion about possible collaboration. A major difference, according to Yamasaki, is that the U.S. version requires notification of parties who could potentially raise infringement issues, with the understanding that a license would be forthcoming. The Japanese version is a pledge by signatories not to sue, with no notification required.
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