Patents on the rise in the war against the coronavirus
The invention patents aimed at fighting against the coronavirus set the tone for the debate on the panel “Patents Protagonism in Times of COVID-19”, on the second day of ABPI’s 40th International Congress on Intellectual Property, which brought together Liane Lage, from the BPTO, Paulo Lacativa, from Biozeus, and Flávia Lima do Carmo, from UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), mediated by lawyer Philippe Bhering.
Liane Lage, BPTO’s Patent Director, presented the BPTO’s actions in response to the crisis, such as the creation of the Observatory of Technologies, the effort with companies in the manufacturing of products to fight against the disease, and the priority examination for patent applications related to the coronavirus, among others. According to Lage, at the moment the BPTO has already registered 109 patent applications related to COVID-19 included in the priority procedure. Of these, 56 are already under technical examination, seven have already been granted and two have been denied.
For Liane Lage, on the one hand, the pandemic revealed Brazil’s technological fragility in health, and, on the other, it boosted innovation in the country. “COVID’s challenge gave rise to a huge innovation effort on the part of companies, governments, and individuals, expanding our perception that we are capable of innovating”, she said. She defended the Intellectual Property system as an essential means of overcoming technological backwardness. “In the midst of this tragedy, IP has emerged as a strategic element to follow the path of technological independence”, she stated.
Paulo Lacativa, from Biozeus, a company controlled by BB Financial I, a Brazilian venture capital fund, explained that the company seeks to enable projects by Brazilians in the area of life sciences. Biozeus has a partnership with more than 60 institutes in Brazil and has already analyzed more than 700 projects carried out at universities. He presented two therapeutic projects that were rejected by investors due to their inadequate patent status, one for treating rheumatoid arthritis and the other for diabetes. A third one, concerning a lung expansion vessel, deposited with the USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office) and later via PCT – Patent Cooperation Treaty initially had an unfavorable written opinion. Only after the wording of the request was adjusted as recommended by Brazilian BPTO examiners, did he receive the notice of allowance.
Flávia Lima do Carmo, from the Technological Innovation Group of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), explained that the institution has mapped projects and technologies by university researchers related to fighting against to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Of the 130 projects cataloged, some gained prominence and had their patent filed, which was the case of anti-sars-CoV 2 serum, which showed neutralizing antibodies against the coronavirus up to 50 times more potent than the plasmas of infected people. Other projects such as a sanitizing door and a pulmonary ventilator were also created in the UFRJ’s Innovation Agency environment, which is structured in five support areas: intellectual property, technology transfer, diffusion of the culture of innovation, social innovation, and entrepreneurship
If you are an ABPI member and registered for the Congress, you can review this Panel at any time. Just access the link: https://congresso.abpi.org.br/dia-20-painel-4-o-protagonismo-das-patentes-no-combate-a-covid-19/