This webinar provides an analysis of national government’s powers to make use of patented inventions during the present pandemic.  Awareness of these provisions will be essential for those having intellectual property covering health-related technologies


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the balance between the need for medical innovation and the need for public access to lifesaving medicines.  In ordinary circumstances, the patent system seeks to provide such balance, by extending a time-limited monopoly in exchange for full disclosure of an invention.

During an emergency, the balance swings quickly to the need for access.  In recognition of this, many national governments have enacted legislation allowing them access to patented drugs and medical devices. In other countries, provisions allowing governments to use patented inventions are already on the books, but have seldom or never been used and leaving open the question of whether governments will make use of these provisions to address the current pandemic.

Innovators of medical technologies also need to balance the urgent requirement of saving lives with the necessity of maintaining a viable business capable of delivering future innovations. Therefore, they need to be fully aware of such government use provisions and the effects of their implementation.

The webinar examines the situation in three jurisdictions:  Canada, where the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act (Bill C-13) received Royal Assent on March 25, 2020; the United Kingdom, where Government use of patented inventions is already part of the Patents Act; and South Africa, which has been very successful in bringing about pricing changes and increased distribution of medicines through use of an active citizenry and skilful interpretation of the Constitution.


John McKnight
Spoor & Fisher
South Africa

Jennifer Marles
Oyen Wiggs

Adrian Bradley
Cleveland Scott York
United Kingdom


28 April at 11:00 a.m. PST
(8 PM ZA, 7 PM UK)

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