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Petition seeks pooling of EU-supported IP relating to Covid-19

Initiative says patents should ‘not hamper accessibility’ of Covid-19 treatments funded by the bloc

The European Commission has registered a European Citizens’ Initiative petition calling for the pooling of Covid-19-related intellectual property developed with the support of EU funds.

The petition aims to “put public health before private profit [and] make anti-pandemic vaccines and treatments a global public good, freely accessible to everyone”. It calls for beneficiaries of EU funds to be legally required to “share Covid-19 health technology related knowledge, intellectual property and data in a technology or patent pool”. 

It also aims to ensure that “intellectual property rights, including patents, do not hamper the accessibility or availability of any future Covid-19 vaccine or treatment”, and require beneficiaries of EU funds to be transparent about the production costs and the affordability of their products. 

Following its registration on 21 August, the petition must garner one million signatures from at least seven EU member states within 12 months, after which the Commission will have to react within six months. The EU is not obliged to implement the requests of a European Citizens’ Initiative that attracts the number of signatures required for a response.