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PatentX: A New Course by WIPO and Harvard Law School

July 26, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the crucial roles played by intellectual property (IP) in stimulating the production and distribution of vaccines and medicines.  On July 25, 2022, Harvard Law School and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) signed an agreement to launch a new joint online course that will examine those roles in depth.  Called “PatentX,” the noncredit course will explore all aspects of the relationship between patent law and global public health. 

Participants in the course will both learn about how patent systems currently function throughout the world and will acquire analytical tools that will enable them to apply, adjust, and supplement those systems to maximize their social benefits. The course will open for registration in October 2022 on the WIPO eLearning Center and will be offered free-of-charge to all beneficiaries.

WIPO Director General Daren Tang (left) and Professor John Manning, Dean of Harvard Law School (right) signing an agreement on July 25, 2022 to launch a new joint course, “PatentX”. (Photo: WIPO/Berrod)

WIPO Director General Daren Tang signed a memorandum of understanding with Harvard Law School’s John F. Manning, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law, to launch a joint course on how to address some of the many challenges arising from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic through a unique blend of patents, global public health and IP management.

"I am delighted that PatentX will help teach learners throughout the world about the vital relationship between the global patent system and public health, enabling them to acquire the tools and knowledge needed to make that system fairer and more effective. I am grateful for WIPO’s collaboration on this important project to help improve access to public health across the globe."

— John F. Manning, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

"We are pleased to combine the expertise of WIPO and Harvard to address a topic at the forefront of conversations today, and we are proud to offer this course free of charge to be more inclusive and for the benefit of all"

— Director General Daren Tang, WIPO

What will PatentX cover?

PatentX covers core topics including:

  • the utility, disclosure, novelty, and inventive-step requirements of patent law;
  • biotechnology;
  • data-exclusivity rules;
  • the TRIPS Agreement and the flexibilities it affords;
  • IP management;
  • voluntary licensing and technology transfer;
  • policy issues related to traditional knowledge and genetic resources;
  • alternative incentive systems; and
  • pandemic preparedness.

Each lesson is supported by real-world cases and is taught by IP experts selected by WIPO and trained by Harvard University. PatentX applies a cutting-edge pedagogical approach and is catered to legislators, policy makers, academics, innovators, and IP professionals.

Find out more