Open COVID pledge aims to free IP to fight pandemic

April 13, 2020 //By Rich Pell
Open COVID pledge aims to free IP for virus fight
An international coalition of scientists and lawyers have created the Open COVID Pledge, which calls on organizations to make their intellectual property (IP) freely available for the fight against COVID-19.

The initiative is designed to make critical IP available to other companies and individuals in an effort to spur innovation and relieve the restrictions of IP access and research in order to develop new tools to fight COVID-19. A number of organizations, including Intel, Mozilla, and Creative Commons, have already joined the program, pledging to give free licenses to their patents, copyrights, and certain other property rights to anyone developing technologies for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of COVID-19.

The licenses would be effective as of December 1, 2019 and last until a year after the World Health Organization declares the pandemic to be over. Companies and other organizations who make the pledge must adopt the Open COVID license, create a custom license that accomplishes the intent of the pledge, or identify existing licenses that support the pledge’s goal.

“Our aim is to boost cooperation and make IP widely available to end the coronavirus pandemic," says Stanford Law Processor, Mark Lemley, a founding member of the initiative. "This is not a permanent grant of rights, but a temporary measure to make sure that we aren't restricting research, testing, or treatment during the pandemic.”

Open COVID Pledge has created a model free IP license - Open COVID License 1.0 - that companies can adopt, or participating organizations can draft their own as well. Details on making and implementing the pledge are also provided.

Intel joined the Open COVID Pledge as a founding sponsor.

"On behalf of Intel employees around the world, and especially our inventors who have worked so hard to create Intel’s intellectual property, we encourage intellectual property holders around the world to join us in this pledge," says Steven Rodgers, executive vice president and general counsel of Intel Corporation. "During this pandemic, Intel employees have continued to work tirelessly to produce products that keep the Internet running, and that allow us to work and school our children from home,

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