Technical brief |

Médecins Sans Frontières feedback on the European Commission’s roadmap for an Intellectual Property Action Plan

Photograph by Peter Bauza

In July 2020, the European Commission opened a public consultation for feedback to its roadmap for an intellectual property (IP) action plan.

In its feedback, Médecins Sans Frontières emphasized that stringent IP enforcement measures and insufficient safeguards threaten or delay the availability of treatments and vaccines and highlighted that IP can act as a barrier to needed medical research and innovation. MSF advises the  European Commission to incorporate recommendations for law and policy reform into the IP action plan to ensure access to essential medical tools, such as:

  • introduce a waiver for data exclusivity to ensure effective compulsory licensing in the EU and encourage the EU member states to restate the eligibility for import under Article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement
  • raise the bar on patent quality at EPO to counter the granting of unmerited patents
  • stop the proliferation of secondary patents and evergreening practices
  • end the imposition of the EU’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) system to trading partners and developing countries
  • commission an independent study of the impact of the Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPC) system on access to medicines as part of a legislative review of the SPC system
  • map EU IP and legal barriers to the global sharing of COVID-19 technologies, knowledge and data; and develop a roadmap to enable a global right to use and produce essential COVID-19 technologies