COVID-19 vaccine: A case of compulsory licensing for social utility!

Bhardwaj, Chintan and Prem, Sanat (2021) COVID-19 vaccine: A case of compulsory licensing for social utility! [Working papers (or Preprints)]

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After a long and tough battle with COVID-19, people were given a ray of hope with the emergence of vaccines across the globe. However, it is safe to say that things have not quite gone according to plan. Vaccine shortages, debates over patents, hoarding, re-infections despite vaccines etc. have taken over the discourse.

In this paper, the authors seek to examine one of these aspects: the need to treat vaccines as a “social utility” tool essential for saving lives worldwide. We will delve into the compulsory licensing prospects in India, the debate around the recent patent-waiver calls on vaccines, and the dilemma between IP rights and social utility for COVID-19 vaccines. India and South Africa have led the calls for this waiver based on concerns of supply and price affordability. In this backdrop, we shed light on the process and need for compulsory licensing for the vaccine in India and how, in a sense, India is contradicting its call on the international front and its efforts back home, domestically. “Necessity is the mother of innovation” – but what happens when that innovation does not reach those for whom it is a necessity? The legal dilemma arises when the jurisprudence of public welfare entangles with the jurisprudence of patent law under the principles of Intellectual Property Rights.

The epidemic of COVID-19 has led to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. The pharmaceutical sector has been upfront to develop a cure to bring normalcy back into the world. There have been billions of dollars invested to develop the vaccine and the institutions have secured a patent on the technology and the formula. The conclusive standing shall be observed by understanding the legislative intent under the Indian Patents Act 1970 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”).

Item Type: Working papers (or Preprints)
Keywords: COVID-19 vaccine | Waiver off | Compulsory licensing | Drugs patents
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Health (Social sciences)
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2022 06:44
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2022 06:59
Official URL:


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