Intellectual property will play a critically important role in fighting the current pandemic. Inventions developed into commercial products and services can save lives and improve health, but due to lack of a commercial partner, some individual inventors or small businesses could be underdeveloped.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently (on May 4, 2020) launched its new web-based IP marketplace platform, Patents 4 Partnerships. The purpose of the Patents 4 Partnerships program is to provide the public with a user-friendly, searchable repository of patents related to the COVID-19 pandemic that are indicated as available for licensing and commercialization.
Patents 4 Partnerships platform according to USPTO PTO Director Andrei Iancu is “a meeting place that enables patent owners who want to license their IP rights to connect with individuals and businesses who can turn those rights into solutions for our health and wellbeing,”
The new platform will facilitate the voluntary licensing and commercialization of innovations in a variety of key technologies, and help disseminate valuable patent information
The Patents 4 Partnerships database allows users to view COVID-19 related technologies, search, and sort those technologies by keyword, inventor name, assignee, and issue date and other factors. The users can click on specific patents and access external links which lead them to license contacts for the particular technology.
All of the technologies in this platform were chosen because of their potential in the fight to prevent, treat, and diagnose COVID-19, though the program may eventually be expanded to include other technologies.
The available technologies are obtained from a wide variety of sources, including universities and various federal agencies including the USPTO, the FDA, CDC, the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Defense, NASA, universities, and more.
The ability of the platform to being used at some point in the future for other, non-COVID-related technologies
Currently, there are excellent databases of technologies available for licensing which are specific to federal agencies, universities, and the private sector, but nothing that collects information from all types of stakeholders. Therefore, one of the main aims of building this platform is listing technologies available for licensing in one place.
In another word, the Patents 4 Partnerships platform is considered as a pilot program and has the ability to expand in the future to include other technologies, based on the stakeholders’ interest and engagement.