124 Academics Sign Open Letter in Support of the TRIPS Intellectual Property Waiver Proposal

Aneeta Mathur-Ashton
July 13, 2021

WTO Logo

A group of 124 professors from around the world have signed a letter supporting the temporary waiver of international intellectual property obligations under the WTO's TRIPS Agreement ("TRIPS waiver") proposed by India and South Africa.  The waiver is currently under debate at the WTO, where it is supported by most Members, but opposed by a group of mostly wealthy nations.

The letter argues that the Waiver is a “necessary and proportionate legal measure towards the clearing of existing intellectual  property barriers to scaling up of production of COVID-19 health technologies in a direct, consistent  and effective fashion.” It calls on the governments of “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern  Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the European Union to drop their opposition to the TRIPS Waiver proposal at the World Trade Organisation and to support the waiver.”

Sean Flynn, Director of American University’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, helped draft the section highlighting the importance of the inclusion of copyright in the waiver of intellectual property obligations.

"PIJIP projects promote the rights of researchers in the copyright system, including rights needed to respond to COVID. This statement of leading scholars furthers the interests of researchers by confirming that access to all intellectual property - including copyright on treatment and vaccine algorithms and software - may be needed and to tackle the pandemic and should be included in the waiver,” said Flynn in a statement.

The academic letter has been signed by 124 other IP professors of law, including Professor Flynn. Click here to download the letter.