Diagnostics & intellectual property

In healthcare, intellectual property (IP) rights are commonly applied through patents. Products that are new and inventive, including novel diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, can qualify for a patent. Patents give companies exclusive rights that prevent third parties from using, making, selling, or offering to sell the patented invention for a fixed period (generally  20 years), unless granted an authorized license by the patent holder or – under certain internationally recognized conditions – by an authorized government agency. Patents have been used for more than 500 years to provide an economic incentive to invest in the long process of innovation and developing new products.

The effectiveness of the patent system in supporting innovation and the role of the patent system in enabling or hindering global equity in access to new technologies are now widely discussed.

Read our policy brief