On May 4, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched an online intellectual property marketplace – Patents 4 Partnerships (the Platform) – to help connect patent licensors and licensees in key technologies. The USPTO stated in a press release that the new Platform “will facilitate the voluntary licensing and commercialization of innovations […] and help disseminate valuable patent information”.
The Platform is a searchable public database listing US patents and published patent applications available for licensing. Users may access external links providing licensing information for a particular technology. The initial focus of the Platform is to bring together patent owners of COVID-19 related technologies and those interested in commercializing them to aid in the prevention, treatment, and diagnosis of COVID-19.
Currently there are over 200 technologies listed on the Platform, such as life science patents relating to vaccination, biotherapeutics and antibody testing. Most of the Platform listings were gathered from public sources, including the USPTO, the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer, universities, and various federal agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration. The USPTO encourages IP owners to submit technologies believed to help combat COVID-19. In the future, the Platform may be expanded to include other technologies to facilitate collaboration and licensing between entities.
Another initiative was recently announced by the USPTO whereby examination of COVID-19-related patent applications will be accelerated for small and micro entities, without additional fees. The hope is that these USPTO initiatives will quickly bring important technologies in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 to market.
Summary By: Anna Troshchynsky
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