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Vaccines, Intellectual Property, and Global Equity

June 10 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm EDT

The rollout of effective COVID-19 vaccines is happening at a historically unprecedented pace. Manufacturing and delivering vaccines to some 7.8 billion people worldwide, however, has reignited tensions about the role of intellectual property in medicine.

This panel will explore the legal and policy debate regarding patents on vaccines. Speakers will address IP waivers, compulsory licensing proposals, and the evolving role of the WTO’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. How risky is vaccine development? What is protected by vaccine patents? What role do US and EU patents play for international vaccine manufacturing and distribution?


Opening Historical Perspective

  • Arthur Daemmrich, Director, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


  • Dan Laster, Director, Washington State COVID-19 Vaccine Action Command and Coordination System (VACCS) Center
  • Arti K. Rai, Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law and co-Director, Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy
  • Eric Aaronson, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel, Intellectual Property, Pfizer Inc.


  • Sean O’Connor, Professor of Law & Executive Director, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School

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Arthur Daemmrich

Director, Smithsonian Lemelson Center

Dan Laster

Director, COVID-19 Vaccine Command and Coordination System Center, Washington

Arti Rai

Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law, Duke Law

Eric Aaronson

Chief Counsel, Corporate Affairs, Intellectual Property, Pfizer

Sean M. O’Connor

Professor of Law; Executive Director, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University


June 10
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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