Costa Rica’s Proposal for Emergency COVID-19 Technology IP Pool for All Countries - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Costa Rica’s Proposal for Emergency COVID-19 Technology IP Pool for All Countries

Costa Rica’s Proposal for Emergency COVID-19 Technology IP Pool for All Countries

The current COVID-19 pandemic has everyone scrambling to get things under control. The world is behind in developing and supplying the necessary diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, and medical devices.1 The medical urgency is clearly building as time goes on.2 Nevertheless, these high-demand medical technologies must still be developed and tested efficiently and ethically with maximum degrees of open data, open science, and collaboration.3 There are no shortcuts.

As a result, the Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada proposed all countries undertake efforts to pool rights to technologies for the detection, control, and treatment of the COVID-19 pandemic.4 His proposal letter, dated Monday, March 23, 2020, was signed by Costa Rica’s Health Minister, Daniel Salas.5 Specifically, it called for the creation of a “repository of information on diagnostic tests, devices, medication or vaccines, with free access or licensing on reasonable and affordable terms, in all member countries of the Organization,” according to excerpts later posted on the presidential website and Twitter account.6

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization of American States (OAS) welcome this proposal. Specifically, the proposal includes the “creation of a voluntary emergency Technology Intellectual Property Pool (TIPP) in order to accelerate scientific discovery, technology, development, proof of safety/efficacy/quality, and broad sharing of benefits of scientific advancement and its applications based on the right to health.”7 The inputs for the pool would come from governments, universities, research institutes, private companies, and individuals who control rights.8 As proposed by Costa Rica, the formation of TIPP would be coordinated first by the WHO, at which point operational implementation may then be assigned to other coordinating entities.9 The first step is to consult with research and development funders and rights holders.10 Then, the specific technologies and the terms of the assignments can be determined at a later date, during the implementation stage.11 The hope is that such a pool will accelerate the response to this pandemic, thus saving millions of lives.12 In addition, it will demonstrate global solidarity and preparedness for future epidemic threats.13


  1. Brook Baker, Rationale for Supporting Costa Rica’s Proposal for Emergency COVID-19 Technology IP Pool for All Countries, Health Gap (Mar. 25, 2020), https://healthgap.org/rationale-for-supporting-costa-ricas-proposal-for-emergency-covid-19-technology-ip-pool-for-all-countries [https://perma.cc/UGU4-XCHH].

  2. Id.

  3. Id.

  4. Paul Clarke, Backing for Pause on Patents to COVID Technologies, Jamaica Gleaner (March 31, 2020, 12:28 AM), http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20200331/backing-pause-patents-covid-technologies [https://perma.cc/A9J2-V2MU].

  5. Id.

  6. Elaine Ruth Fletcher, WHO Director ‘Welcomes’ Costa Rica Call For Pooled Rights To COVID – 19 Treatments; G–20 Pledges Broad Support To Emergency Response,  Health Policy Watch (Mar. 26, 2020), https://www.healthpolicy-watch.org/who-director-general-welcomes-costa-rica-presidents-call-for-pooled-rights-to-covid-19-treatments [https://perma.cc/S8BB-LL7B].

  7. Paul Clarke, Backing for Pause on Patents to COVID Technologies, Jamaica Gleaner (March 31, 2020, 12:28 AM), http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20200331/backing-pause-patents-covid-technologies [https://perma.cc/A9J2-V2MU].

  8. Id.

  9. Brook Baker, Rationale for Supporting Costa Rica’s Proposal for Emergency COVID-19 Technology IP Pool for All Countries, Health Gap (Mar. 25, 2020), https://healthgap.org/rationale-for-supporting-costa-ricas-proposal-for-emergency-covid-19-technology-ip-pool-for-all-countries [https://perma.cc/UGU4-XCHH].

  10. Paul Clarke, Backing for Pause on Patents to COVID Technologies, Jamaica Gleaner (March 31, 2020; 12:28 AM), http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20200331/backing-pause-patents-covid-technologies [https://perma.cc/A9J2-V2MU].

  11. Id.

  12. Id.

  13. Id.

Tara Hayes

Tara Hayes is a second-year J.D. candidate at Fordham University School of Law and a staff member of the Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Scripps College.