The role of Intellectual Property in the response to the COVID-19 crisis (14/05/20)

By: Nina Hoppmann
Created: 14 May 2020 - 07:05
Updated: 21 May 2020 - 08:05

The immediate production of ventilators/face masks to protect the population from infection of COVID-19 has raised a series of questions on intellectual property (IP) rights.

We see cases where companies license their models - or even make it open source - and share it with others to produce the needed products. However, in other cases, companies are not willing to make their IP available to other people. 

The European Alliance Against Coronavirus is talking with Amaryllis Verhoeven, Head of Intellectual Property Unit, DG GROW, about questions on IP:

  • Which are legal possibilities to access existing IP?
  • When can you invoke the possibility of compulsory license
  • Who do I have to address at national level
  • How can the European Union help?
  • To which extent could patent pools help?


Summary_webinar_Industrial Property (IP) issues triggered by the COVID-crisis_20200514.pdf

14 May 2020
The importance of IP in this crisis

It was a very good session. The quality and credibility of IP is central to the economy because we need that the solutions provided to the market have a guarantee of trust certified by the responsible entities. This crisis can be a god opportunity to give again IP its role of qualification and capacitation of the value chaines in the global market.

Nina Hoppmann
20 May 2020
Clearing house for medical equipment

Additional information from Davide Follador, Legal and Policy Officer, European Commission DG GROW IP Unit:

In the framework of the response to Covid-19, in March 2020 the Commission set up a ‘Clearing house for medical equipment’, that is currently scheduled to operate for a period of six months (for the moment), to facilitate the identification of available essential medical equipment.
You can find information about the "Clearing House on medical equipment" also on the main page of the Commission's response to the Covid-19 crisis:

Its main objectives and tasks are:

  • Get an overview of essential needs of medical equipment in Member States
  • Facilitate the matching of supply and demand of medical equipment at EU level
  • Support Member States, industries or other stakeholders with bottlenecks in the supply chain (such as technical/regulatory obstacles)
  • Contribute to feed information on supply and demand in view of actions to be implemented by the Emergency Support Instrument.
  • Contribute to the opinion of the Commission under the Export Authorization Regulation. 

To support the Clearing House in addressing IP-related issues, DG GROW has recently activated a dedicated ‘COVID-19 IP Helpdesk’, that will provide first advice on IP issues to companies willing to re-convert their production to supply critical medical equipment and PPEs. DG GROW will work closely with the EU IPR SME Helpdesk to provide fast-response to companies who will contact the Clearing House with enquiries.
Any correspondence regarding commercial offers of medical equipment in response to Covid-19 can be directed to: 


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