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Companies Pledge To Forego IP Rights For Covid Projects

Hupp alliance agreement

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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