The Open COVID Coalition, comprising an international group of scientists and attorneys, has published the Open COVID Pledge, which calls upon organizations worldwide to make their patents and copyrights freely available to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.  The steering committee of the Open COVID Coalition includes such legal luminaries as Mark Lemley of Stanford Law School and Diane Peters of Creative Commons.

Open COVID Pledge

Under the Open COVID Pledge, an organization would make its patents and copyrights available for free to people who want to use the intellectual property to end the COVID-19 pandemic or to minimize the impact of the disease.  The Pledge is implemented through a license that details the terms and conditions under which the patents or copyrights are to be make available for use.

The Open COVID Coalition has established two steps for organizations that want to make the Open COVID Pledge.  First, the Coalition is asking organizations to make a public commitment to the Pledge.  This can be done by posting a public statement to that effect on the organization’s website.  Additionally or alternatively, the organization can issue an official press release.

Second, the organization needs to implement the Pledge by signing a license.  The organization can simply adopt the Open COVID License available on the Open COVID Pledge website or create a custom license that accomplishes the same purpose.  The main provision of the Open COVID License states as follows:

The Pledgor grants to every person and entity that wishes to accept it, a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully paid-up license (without the right to sublicense) to make, have made,  use, sell, import, reproduce, adapt, translate, distribute, perform, display, modify, create derivative works of and otherwise exploit all patent, copyright and other intellectual and industrial property rights (other than trademarks and trade secrets) in products, services, compositions of matter, machines, articles of manufacture, processes, and works of authorship that we have the right to license under these terms (the “Licensed IP”), for the sole purpose of ending the “COVID-19 Pandemic” (as defined by the World Health Organization, “WHO”) and minimizing the impact of the disease, including without limitation the diagnosis, prevention, containment, and treatment of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

According to the Open COVID Pledge website, Intel Corporation, the Fabricatorz Foundation, and Unified Patents have made the Open COVID Pledge.  It has been separately reported that such universities as Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford are also agreeing to let their intellectual property be used to fight COVID-19, but not as part of the Open COVID Pledge.

More information about the Open COVID Pledge can be found on the Open COVID Website available here.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is providing this information as it might be of interest, but the firm does not necessarily endorse or sponsor the Open COVID Pledge.


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*This alert is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Please contact your Sheppard Mullin attorney contact for additional information.*