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IP20+ Virtual Forum Underscores Importance of Intellectual Property in Ending Pandemic

Saudi Arabia recently hosted the IP20+ Global Intellectual Property Challenges forum, bringing together the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and leaders of intellectual property (IP) offices across G20 countries to establish priorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and future emergencies.

Following the virtual event, organized by the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) and held in line with the Saudi G20 Presidency, leaders released a joint statement sharing their mutual recognition of the importance of IP in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and agreeing to work together to foster greater innovation.

“Recognizing that IP is a key element of innovation-based economies…and an integral element of global trade…IP20+ cooperation needs to reinforce the role of IP in fostering innovation and creativity for the wellbeing of our societies.”

The joint statement emphasizes the need to respect IP rights and enhance global cooperation between governments and the private sector to find treatment for COVID-19. Participants also committed to participating in future IP20+ meetings to discuss the contributions of IP to overcoming global challenges. The statement further outlined opportunities to:

  • Enhance IP cooperation among G20 countries: The forum stressed the importance of cooperation with intergovernmental organizations, governments and the private sector working together to incentivize innovation and overcome any demonstrated obstacles to defeat the pandemic and repair its economic consequences.
  • Encourage voluntary dissemination of relevant scientific and technological knowledge while supporting respect for intellectual property rights: The forum promoted voluntary sharing of scientific and technological IP information to help researchers in the G20 countries and beyond to seek and find solutions in pandemics and emergencies.
  • Consider future IP20+ meetings: The forum provided a meaningful opportunity for IP20+ to discuss the contribution of IP to overcoming global challenges. Participants shared a willingness to consider such meetings in the future.

The biopharmaceutical industry has relied on global collaboration amidst the pandemic to test potential COVID-19 treatments and vaccines quickly and to continue innovating for the future. As the G20 countries participating in the IP20+ Global Intellectual Property Challenges forum noted, strong IP policies and global cooperation can accelerate the development, manufacturing and trade of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. It’s imperative for government officials in Saudi Arabia to uphold and practice the tenets outlined in the joint statement to strengthen effective patent protection, patent enforcement and regulatory data protection. The future of the Kingdom’s innovation ecosystem depends on it.

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